A United States federal court has ordered the Donald Trump administration to abandon last-minute changes to the 2020 Census schedule and extend the time for counting for an additional month.
The preliminary injunction, issued by US District Judge Lucy Koh in the Northern District of California, requires the Census Bureau to keep trying to tally the country’s residents through October 31.
Additionally, Judge Koh barred officials from delivering completed data to the White House on December 31 rather than the original April 2021 delivery date.
The ruling came after evidence revealed that top US Census Bureau officials believed ending the headcount early would seriously endanger its accuracy.
“Once again, the courts have blocked Trump’s campaign to politicize the 2020 Census and exclude our immigrant communities,” said Meeta Anand, Census 2020 Senior Fellow for the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC).
She told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that Judge Koh’s ruling “bought us 36 more days to complete the 2020 Census.
“While we celebrate this decision, we know that this deadline could change again, and New Yorkers cannot afford to squander this opportunity. At stake is our political power and billions of federal dollars for schools, hospitals, public transportation and more for the next decade.
“If we hope to rebuild New York amid a global pandemic and economic recession, we must ensure every New Yorker is counted as soon as possible,” Anand continued.
Earlier in September, New York Attorney General Letitia James led a large coalition of attorneys general, cities and counties, as well as the US Conference of Mayors, in supporting legal action to prevent implementation of the Trump Administration’s “Rush Plan,” which was aimed at reducing the time in which self-response questionnaires would be accepted and door-to-door follow-ups would take place in this year’s census.
“Once again, the Trump administration’s unlawful attempts to undermine the census and manipulate the population count to the president’s liking have been stopped,” James told CMC, adding “we have repeatedly taken the president to court over his attempts to politicize the census, and we will continue to do so whenever he tries to put politics above the Constitution.
“We will do everything in our power to stop the president’s shameful actions and ensure that everyone is counted, that our states have proper representation, and that our communities receive funding based off an accurate count,” James added.
James led the coalition in filing an amicus brief in National Urban League v. Ross, supporting the plaintiffs’ request for a nationwide preliminary injunction.
The coalition argued, in the brief, that the expedited schedule would have hamstrung the US Census Bureau’s ongoing efforts to conduct the census and would thus impair the accuracy of its enumeration of the total population of each state.
The filing of this amicus brief is the latest in a long list of actions James said she has taken to protect the integrity of the 2020 Decennial Census.
In 2018, the Office of the Attorney General filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration in response to its efforts to add a citizenship question to the census.
That suit made its way through multiple courts, eventually landing in the US Supreme Court last year, where the court ruled, last June, in favour of New York by prohibiting the Trump administration from adding the citizenship question to the census.
In August of last year, Attorney General James moved to intervene in a separate census case in Alabama, where the federal government were defendants, in an effort to ensure the case is properly presented and that every resident in America — irrespective of citizenship status — is counted in the decennial census.