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Census will include citizenship question
June 21 2018, 06:49 | Irvin Gilbert
U.S. will reinstate question about citizenship in 2020 Census Commerce Dept
In a move denounced by immigrant rights advocates and legal experts as an effort to "undercount communities of color" that could have an enormous impact on the drawing of congressional districts, the Trump administrationannounced late Monday that the 2020 Census will ask respondents whether or not they are usa citizens.
"Secretary Ross determined that obtaining complete and accurate information to meet this legitimate government objective outweighed the limited potential adverse impacts", it said.
Press secretary Sarah Sanders says the White House "supports" the decision but it "was made at the department level". The move comes after a 2017 request by the Justice Department to include the question.
That claim muddies the waters between different surveys, however. He argued that the Constitution required the federal government to make an accurate count of citizen and noncitizen population, and that the administration's move violated federal law because it was "arbitrary and capricious".
Citizenship questions have appeared on the census in the past and are included on more frequent population surveys that are administered by the Census Bureau. We do know that, with the citizenship question, we will get accurate data as to how many citizens live in the U.S. That's something we should know. Citizenship questions have also been included on prior decennial censuses. A "dress rehearsal" for the census is already starting in Rhode Island.
The Trump administration has provoked threats of lawsuits and a backlash from senior Democrats after deciding to reinstate a controversial question about citizenship status in the next United States census.
The Trump administration says the addition will help properly enforce the Voting Rights Act.
But supporters of the Trump administration point out that less sweeping surveys like the American Community Survey have continued to ask about citizenship in recent years.
If the change goes ahead, the effects would begin to be felt after the 2020 presidential election, which will still rely on lines drawn up after 2010.
Census researchers have said immigrants they interviewed spontaneously raised topics like the travel ban and the dissolution of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program that has protected from deportation young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. Immigrants and their loved ones understandably are, and will be, concerned about how data collected in the 2020 Census will be used. University of California, Berkeley professor and demographer Kenneth W. Yachter notes that the data it offers could help a school board decide whether or not an additional elementary school needs to be built in a particular district. "Between evidence that the administration is manipulating the census for political gain, and fear that the administration will use the census to harm immigrants, confidence in the integrity of the count could plummet".
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Secretary of State Alex Padilla trashed the move as anti-immigrant.
A coalition of state attorneys general urged the department last month to not add the question, saying it could lower participation among immigrants and cause a population undercount.
"It's becoming increasingly clear that unless California manages to do a lot of outreach to these extremely vulnerable populations, we're going to lose billions in federal funding", Mac Donald said. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, another New York Democrat, has also sponsored legislation to block it.