Press Releases

CAIR Welcomes SCOTUS Decision Blocking Citizenship Question on 2020 Census for Now

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/27/19) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to block a question about citizenship status from being included in the 2020 Census.  

SEE: Supreme Court blocks citizenship question on 2020 census for now

“The Supreme Court’s observation that the Trump administration’s rationale for its citizenship question ‘seems to have been contrived’ is the understatement of the year,” said CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri. “The citizenship question is a racist attempt to deny minority communities benefits and opportunities, and the Trump administration’s clumsy efforts to disguise it as lawful did not persuade even a court as friendly to the president as this one.

CAIR noted that, while the Supreme Court was unwilling to allow the citizenship question at this time, the decision indicated that the Trump administration could offer a more convincing justification for including the citizenship question on the census at a later date.

Last year, the United States Department of Commerce, which oversees the census, said that the question would be added at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice to prevent violations of the Voting Rights Act. President Trump falsely claimed that millions of illegal immigrants voted in the 2016 presidential election. The citizenship question was last included in the census questionnaire in 1950.

Census data determines representation in Congress and how the federal government allocates more than $400 billion in public funds to state, local and tribal governments. Faith-based organizations and institutions can use census data to apply for grants.

Researchers estimate that the citizenship question would reduce responses by 8 percent.

SEE: U.S. Census Bureau Working Paper: “Predicting the Effect of Adding a Citizenship Question to the 2020 Census” (June 2019)

A federal court in Maryland recently heard evidence indicating that the Trump administration conspired with an anti-immigrant extremist to include the citizenship question for the purpose of discriminating against Latinos and other immigrant communities. 

SEE: Federal judge says census citizenship question merits more consideration in light of new evidence

CAIR noted that federal law requires answers to the census be kept confidential and protected. 

The Washington-based civil rights organization is reminding individuals that non-citizen does not mean undocumented. The Washington-based civil rights organization encourages the American-Muslim community to be counted. 

It is not yet clear how the Census Bureau will handle follow-up for those households that fill out their questionnaire but choose not to answer a question. However, the Census Bureau has indicated that the more questions a household leaves blank, the higher the likelihood it will get a phone call or an enumerator visit.

In January, a federal judge in New York struck down the proposal to include a citizenship question but the Trump administration appealed the ruling, taking it to the Supreme Court.

SEE: CAIR Applauds Judge’s Decision on 2020 Census Citizenship Question

Earlier this year, CAIR and its New York chapter (CAIR-NY) joined the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality and three American citizens of Japanese descent who were incarcerated during World War II in filing an amicus brief supporting challengers of the 2020 census citizenship question.

SEE: CAIR, CAIR-NY Join Japanese Americans Incarcerated in World War II and the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality in SCOTUS Brief Challenging Census Citizenship Question

When the citizenship question was first proposed, CAIR issued a statement decrying it as a part of President Trump’s ”˜White Supremacist Agenda.’

SEE: CAIR Says Citizenship Question on Census Part of Trump’s ”˜White Supremacist Agenda’

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.


CONTACT: CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri,, 202-742-6420; CAIR Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas,, 720-251-0425; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,; CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448,


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