With Harris County and the City of Marfa, Fort Bend County Judge KP George, in his individual capacity, filed an amicus curie brief supporting the plaintiffs – the State of New York, 16 additional states, 17 cities, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors – in a lawsuit against the Department of Commerce, Secretary Wilbur Ross, and the Census Bureau for including a citizenship question in the 2020 census.
“In a national environment where immigration issues are marred by fear instead of merit, this administration’s focus on targeting immigrants hampers our country’s progress,” George said. “Adding this question into the 2020 Census will deter participation and cause an undercount, undermining the accuracy of the census and jeopardizing the funding local jurisdictions receive. Fort Bend County is the most diverse county in the United States and this question will threaten millions of dollars of funding to our local governments hurting both representation and direct services.”
Studies show that each counted individual accounts for at least $1,500. If even 5 percent of Fort Bend County’s 800,000 residents fail to participate due to a citizenship question, Fort Bend faces a loss of $60 million in federal funding over a 10-year time period. By one government estimate, about 6.5 million people might decide not to participate nationally.
Federal Judge Jesse M. Furman of the District Court in Manhattan ruled against the question saying in the consensus opinion: “The Constitution mandates that every 10 years the federal government endeavor to count every single person residing in the United States, whether citizen or noncitizen, whether living here with legal status or without.”
Additionally, Judge Furman found that were the question added, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, New York and Texas would risk losing Congressional seats.
The Supreme Court is projected to hear arguments at the end of April and come to a decision before the end of July.
The amicus curaie brief can be found at https://www.supremecourt.gov/DocketPDF/18/18-966/95030/20190401191425500_18-966bsacHarrisCountyTexasKPGeorgeFortBendCountyJudge.pdf.