Should citizenship question be on the census?

01 April, 2018, 00:57 | Author: Tina Rodriquez
  • Grace Meng's office

As reported by Latino Rebels, "virtually every national Latino organization is condemning the decision to ask for citizenship in the 2020 Census", including the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO).

The last time census takers asked about citizenship was 1950.

THE FACTS: The Justice Department has been enforcing the Voting Rights Act with citizenship data already available from government surveys.

The obvious intent of including a citizenship question in the census is to discourage immigrants - especially those who are undocumented - from participating in the count.

Non-response in 2020 may be even higher, for many reasons.

The US Constitution mandates a count of its population every decade, with the next estimate coming in 2020. It is not. And the danger goes far beyond the fear it is already fueling in immigrant communities across the country.

At issue is greater scrutiny of racial and ethnic gerrymandering and whether the drawing of legislative districts is putting certain people under a greater burden to get to the polls.

IL is among a dozen states planning to sue the administration to get the question removed from the census. They say they will sue to prevent the question.

The state of California is not wrong to file suit, since this idea actually goes against the objective of the census as stated in the Constitution (which specifically says "persons", not "citizens").




Prince George's County, Maryland, joined in the lawsuit.

However, Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, co-signed a letter with 19 attorneys general earlier this year asking the U.S. Commerce Department to exclude any citizenship questions on the census.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders was flat-out wrong in claiming the citizenship question had been regularly included in the Census Bureau's decennial survey to all USA households in recent decades.

A 2017 Pew Research Center study found that Denver, Chicago, Seattle, Washington, D.C. and four California cities all have 100,000 to 400,000 illegal immigrant residents.

The bill Bennet co-sponsored says it would "prohibit the Secretary of Commerce from including any census question regarding United States citizenship or immigration status". Anything that undermines this mission - to count every breathing person - violates the intent of the Founding Fathers.

The census, which is meant to count the entire population, is crucial for determining how federal funds are distributed and congressional districts drawn. Census results are also used to redraw political boundaries and equitably distribute public funding.

Berry said his organization has been working with the Yale Law School Rule of Law Clinic on concerns about the 2020 Census.

The U.S. Census Bureau has released the questions for the upcoming 2020 count. This announcement occurred just before the March 31, 2018, statutory deadline for the Commerce Department to submit final decennial census questions to Congress. Secretary Ross framed his decision as the "reinstatement" of a question; however, there has not been a citizenship question on the decennial short form questionnaire in the past 70 years.

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