Citizenship question could put 2020 Census down for the count

The addition of a question of citizenship in the Census of 2020 has triggered a strong wave of criticism and warning from Latino representatives in Congress

Trump officials straining the truth on census change

Advisers for the Census Bureau argue that the Trump administration's decision to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census was based on "flawed logic" and could lead to an inaccurate count in the census.

"The notion that we can look at history and say that there was once a citizenship question on the census form and so it will be an easy thing to slip in, just doesn't hold water", she said.

A new 2020 decennial census policy means some 24.3 million people could skip answering the critical form if they believe their names and other personal information could be shared with law enforcement, according to a Brookings Institute analysis released Friday.

Once every 10 years, we count all individuals living in the United States in the census. But we can not leave it at that: those who will be most affected by the decision-including residents of states like North Carolina - must demand a comprehensive, accurate, and fully funded Census from President Trump and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. Thus, the Trump administration wants to go nationwide with a census questionnaire that won't have been vetted to ascertain the ramifications.

Ross said in a memo that the Voting Rights Act requires a tally of citizens of voting age to protect minorities against discrimination, and that getting this information as part of the census would make it more complete.

Conducted once a decade, the USA census began collecting data about same-sex couples in 1990, when the "unmarried partner" category was added to the relationship question to measure the growing trend of couples living together before tying the knot. From 1960 through 2000, it appeared on the long form sent to about one-sixth of USA residences.

The citizenship question was espoused by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whose Justice Department has been aggressive in expelling undocumented immigrants, and approved by Wilbur Rice, the billionaire who runs the Commerce Department and a backer of tariffs.


The citizenship question was recently added at the request of the Justice Department to better enforce the Voting Rights Act.

Ron Jarmin, the acting director of the Census Bureau, defended adding the question to the 2020 census.

Further, we are concerned that the addition of the citizenship question is tainted by improper political considerations. The results from the Census are required to reapportion the seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. This will "hurt red states as much or more than blue states", says Shapiro.

IL is among a dozen states planning to sue the administration to get the question removed from the census. Many critics see the move as an extension of the White House's hostility toward immigrants and as an attempt to reduce the 2020 population count in immigrant-rich areas that are predominantly Democratic in advance of redistricting in 2021.

But Democrats said the move will lead to the undercounting of legal immigrants, distorting the United States electoral balance. In the extreme case, an inaccurate count could cost North Carolina a 14th congressional seat - something we are otherwise almost certain to receive.

The Census Bureau delivered its planned questions for the 2020 Census - including those about citizenship - to Congress on Thursday.

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