Washington, DC—Below is a statement from United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) President Columbia (SC) Mayor Steve Benjamin and Chair of USCM’s Census Task Force Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh on today’s ruling blocking the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census:

USCM President and Columbia (SC) Mayor Steve Benjamin:

“The nation’s mayors are extremely gratified that U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman of New York’s Southern District court blocked the Commerce Department’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.  As part of the coalition of 18 Attorneys General and six cities that brought the lawsuit, the U.S. Conference of Mayors believes such a question would have surely jeopardized a full, fair and accurate count and undermined the very core of the constitutional mandate of the Census.

“Mayors—both Democrat and Republican—have long contested that previous censuses have undercounted cities.  The addition of a citizenship question would have undoubtedly discouraged participation and further compromised a process that mayors across this country depend on to provide essential services, including transit, housing, education and public safety.

“It is imperative that every person living in our country is counted no matter their citizenship status.  Not only do we need to ensure that our local resources adequately support those living in our cities, we must guarantee that the Census truthfully reflects the diverse fabric of our great nation.”

Chair of USCM Census Task Force Baltimore (MD) Mayor Catherine E. Pugh:

“This decision by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York is an affirmation of who we are as a nation and what we are not. It is essential that each and every resident of our City and communities be counted. So much depends on a full and accurate counting in terms of federal dollars, essential services and congressional representation. The defeat of this attempt to undercount our residents is not only welcome but a cause for celebration.”