Posted on March 27, 2018 in Press Releases


March 27, 2018


Margaret Lowry,

(202) 652-4993

Statement from AAI Executive Director Maya Berry on the inclusion of an untested question on citizenship on the 2020 Census:

The decision by Secretary Ross and the Department of Commerce to move forward with the  inclusion of a citizenship question on the decennial census makes it clear that the Trump Administration is choosing to politicize the constitutionally mandated responsibility of conducting the census. This decision will deter many from responding to the decennial census, creating legitimate concern about the confidentiality of their personal information and fear about how their response to this question will be used to target them. In short, this question will do exactly what the Trump Administration is intending by adding it without testing or thorough review, it will suppress the count.

By abandoning the intensively researched combined-question format and MENA category, failing to fill leadership roles at the Census Bureau with qualified candidates, underfunding the Census Bureau, and now including an intrusive and untested question that will no doubt deter many from responding -  this administration has jeopardized one of the foundational practices of our nation, choosing to play politics over allowing for a fair and accurate count. The census is not simply an academic exercise. An undercount as a result of these decisions and the politicization of the process will have real, harmful consequences for communities across the country that stand to lose representation and funding.

As always, we will continue to fight for the needs of our community and all those affected by the threat of an inaccurate count. We will continue to demand congressional action for nothing short of a full and accurate count in 2020.


Founded in 1985, the Arab American Institute (AAI) is a nonprofit organization committed to the civic and political empowerment of Americans of Arab descent. AAI provides policy, research and public affairs services to support a broad range of community activities. For more information please visit