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Census Question Could Result In Loss Of Billions Of Dollars In State Funding

Ryan Poppe

Officials with the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund say including a question about citizenship on the 2020 census will result in less federal funds for Texas. The group is considering a federal lawsuit regarding the recent change.

Celina Moreno, an attorney with the defense and educational Fund, said the inclusion of the citizenship question could violate an individual’s rights..


“In terms of constitutional violations, the U.S. Constitution requires that every person be counted, and that’s something that’s been in our Enumeration Clause since our country’s founding,” Moreno said.


Moreno worries that many non-citizens — or those living in a mixed status household — will decline to answer the questionnaire for fear of being deported. And that could result in Texas receiving fewer federal funds, which is near $43 billion dollars.

State Rep. Cesar Blanco, chair of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, said the amount of federal funding Texas receives is based on the number of people residing in the state.


“Our concern is that if folks aren’t counted, Texas won’t receive the federal funds that we need for transportation, for children’s health insurance, for Medicare and Medicaid, a variety of issues to the tune of about $43 billion,” Blanco said.


Blanco said Texas is one of three states that receive the most federal funding based on its census data.


A handful of other states and organizations have indicated they are preparing legal action. MALDEF says it is considering filing a federal lawsuit.


The public is set to receive the census questionnaire in April of 2020.

Ryan Poppe can be reached at rpoppe@tpr.org or on Twitter @RyanPoppe1

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.