The U.S. Census is moving forward without a citizenship question — a development Gov. Andrew Cuomo said was good for the state.
President Donald Trump announced Thursday he would not seek other avenues of including the question on the census after the U.S. Supreme Court said the administration had failed to provide a good rationale for why it was being included.
Trump said the information will be taken from other sources, which will not affect federal funding and congressional reapportionment.
"There used to be a time when you could answer questions like that very easily. There used to be a time when you could proudly declare I am a citizen of the United States," Trump said.
On Friday during a conference call, Cuomo said the retreat was a loss for the president.
“The president lost his politically motivated quest to pursue his anti-immigration stance in the Census,” Cuomo said in a conference call with reporters. “And it’s good news for New Yorkers.”
The census question was challenged by New York and other states over concerns the effort would have led to immigrants not participating in the survey and leading to an undercount.
Still, those who opposed the question are worried the episode will lead to a lack of participation in the census.
“Let there be no misunderstanding: Every New Yorker, regardless of their citizenship status, can and must fill out the census form without fear,” said Jim Malatras and Rosanna Rosado, the co-chairs of New York’s census commission. “Completing the census will not compromise anyone’s safety and privacy, regardless of their immigration status.”
But there is also a concern that with federal immigration enforcement ramping up, and the controversy surrounding the question, that some migrants won’t want to participate in the survey. Michael Kink, executive director of Strong Economy For All, says there will be an effort to ensure people participate.
"What you’re going to see is community groups, labor unions, faith leaders, working in their communities to get the word out that people should respond," Kink said.
Upstate New York is home to a range of immigrant communities – including those who work on farms and refugees living in cities like Utica and Buffalo.
"Our state needs to know who exactly lives where. The data shows we’ll get a better, more accurate public response if we don’t ask the citizenship question," Kink said.
And the census has real stakes for New York’s representation in Washington. A decade ago, New York lost two seats in the House of Representatives due to slow population growth. More seats could be lost again.