News

Supreme Court blocks U.S. Census citizenship question

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Trump Administration did not give an adequate reason for adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census, and therefore blocked the question for at least the time being. President Trump claimed the rationale for adding the question was to better enforce the Voting Right Act, a law that protects the voting rights of racial minorities.  However, opponents have argued the question would instill fear in immigrant households that their personal information would be shared with law enforcement thereby leading to not answer the census and resulting in a severe undercount that would ultimately hurt cities like San Antonio.

The U.S. Census is required by the U.S. Constitution, and is used to allot seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and distribute some $800 billion in federal funding annually.  “The San Antonio community relies on an accurate census count to secure the federal funding for the cornerstones of economic growth including infrastructure, healthcare, education, and workforce training. It is imperative that San Antonio and the surrounding region is accurately represented in the census to strategically manage our growth and maintain our success. Any barriers to achieving an accurate count would hinder our ability to serve the needs of our growing community, of which 24.3% are living below the poverty level” said Chamber President and CEO Richard Perez. Your Chamber has been tracking the court case closely as removing the citizenship question from the U.S. Census is a top legislative priority in our federal agenda.

According to the American Community Survey (ACS) 2012-2016 projections, 14.2% of our local population is foreign-born and 63.6% are Hispanic or Latino. The San Antonio region is expected to see a population growth of more than one million residents by 2040. Bexar County in particular, has had historic challenges implementing the census. According to the latest Census estimates, approximately 25% of Bexar County’s current population (or 469,564 people) lives in hard-to-count neighborhoods. Without an accurate census count, more households in these and other neighborhoods in the county are at risk of being missed in the 2020 census.

Previous undercounts have already had funding impacts for our region. According to a study by George Washington University, Texas leads the nation in projected Medicaid funding losses due to an undercount in the 2010 census – a loss of $291 million.

President Trump responded immediately by asking his administration to temporarily delay the 2020 census.  Count on your Chamber to keep you updated. For any questions, please contact Stephanie Reyes, Vice President of Public Policy at sreyes@sachamber.org.

Want to become a member of the Chamber?