August 5, 2020

Media Contact:

Scott Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County is joining a New York lawsuit against President Trump and his Administration for their July 21, 2020 census policy attempting to “exclude from the apportionment base aliens who are not in a lawful immigration status.” The exclusion of undocumented persons would significantly impact the apportionment of congressional districts and the electoral college. The case was filed in federal court last week, with the State of New York as the lead plaintiff.

“This latest attempt to co-opt the constitutionally mandated census process is illegal and clearly violates our federal laws and standards,” said County Executive Calvin Ball. “Especially now, as the Census Bureau just announced they will end all counting efforts by Sept. 30, there is a greater risk of undercounting populations. Howard County loses out on nearly $18,000 in federal funding for each person not counted in the Census. This funding will support critical programs including our emergency services, medicare, school lunches and so much more. Our federal representation must truly represent all the people in a jurisdiction – no matter their citizenship status. As a community that strives to be inclusive and sees our diversity as our strength, we will not let the current administration continue to scapegoat our immigrant community or intimidate our residents from participating in the census.”

The complaint is expected to be amended this week, at which time Howard County will be added as a plaintiff. The lawsuit challenges the President’s disregard for the Constitution, and violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, where it states, “representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State.”

“Howard County prides itself in the richness of its diversity,” said Jackie Scott, Director of the Department of Community Resources and Services. “The Administration’s policy undermines these values and presents a dangerous precedent which could lead to withholding critically needed resources from states and localities; leaving millions of families and children without the ability to meet their basic needs. We urge our federal lawmakers to stand for the moral and civic obligation to care for all people who call America their home and protect their fundamental rights to be heard, counted and represented.”

“At FIRN, we know communities are strong when their breadth and depth is counted,” said Mike Mitchell, Executive Director of Foreign-Born Information and Referral Network (FIRN). “But, the Administration’s move to exclude them won’t stop at hurting immigrants, it will undermine the very foundation of communities the Administration claims to help.”

The Census Bureau announced this week that they are ending all counting efforts by September 30, 2020, a month earlier than previously planned of October 31, 2020. Across the country, 4 out of 10 households have not been counted, and with limited to no door-knocking efforts, there is a risk of significantly undercounting immigrants, minority populations, and rural households who are less likely to self-report. In Howard County the response rate is currently 76.5%.

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