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Immigrant Advocates On Long Island See Modest Win In Census Ruling

Mark Lennihan
New York Attorney General Letitia James talks at a news conference about the Supreme Court's decision to deny a citizenship question on the 2020 census, Thursday in New York.

Groups in charge of Long Island’s Census count say Thursday’s Supreme Court decision is a small victory. Blocking the Trump administration’s effort to ask about citizenship on the 2020 Census means Long Islanders will be less fearful in being counted.

Census data is used to proportion congressional districts, Medicaid funding and pothole repair. 

The more people counted in New York means the more federal resources are returned. By asking about a respondent’s citizenship, advocates and local officials were worried immigrants — undocumented or not — would be afraid to be counted. 

Rebecca Sanin, CEO of the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, says, even with this decision, the current anti-immigrant climate still has a chilling effect.

“It doesn’t change our strategy, very much targeted toward communities that are less likely to be counted. [But] it’s great that this is not another hurdle we have to overcome.”

New York is spending some $20 million to encourage so-called hard-to-count communities to fill out the Census. This typically includes immigrants and also minorities, the homeless, children, those with low income, less education and for the first time, those who don’t frequently use the internet.

Charles is senior reporter focusing on special projects. He has won numerous awards including an IRE award, three SPJ Public Service Awards, and a National Murrow. He was also a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and Third Coast Director’s Choice Award.