Trump Administration Reinstates Citizenship Question for 2020 Census

Trump administration to reinstate census question about citizenship

This will be the first time since 1950 that a question about citizenship status is asked on the census, the Department of Commerce said in a statement released Monday evening.

The Center for Immigration Studies, a group that pushes for decreased immigration says participation in the census has already decreased and that it seems unlikely that a citizenship question would decrease census participation.

"I have no doubt that the Trump Administration is adding this question to try to suppress responses and diminish the count in states with large immigrant populations, like Massachusetts", Galvin said in a statement.

That question is now included on the American Community Survey, which offers a more detailed read on the state of the US population and replaced a different long-form questionnaire in the 2010 census. "This is something that has been part of the census for decades and something that the Department of Commerce felt strongly needed to be included again".

Any problems with the numbers in the Census, which is mandated under the United States constitution, will reverberate for at least 10 years until the next big count. The DOJ and the courts use CVAP data for the enforcement of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits the drawing of election districts in ways that improperly dilute minorities' voting power. Officials say the data will help the Justice Department enforce the Voting Rights Act, which protects minority voting rights.

California's Attorney General has already announced that they're suing over the question. Schneiderman will lead a multi-state lawsuit challenging the question, he announced Tuesday.

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But other organizations, like the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a group that has lobbied for immigrant rights in the past, disputed that claim, calling the choice to include a citizenship question an "arbitrary and untested decision that all but guarantees that the census will not produce a full and accurate count of the population as the constitution requires".

A coalition of state attorneys general urged the department last month to not add such a question, saying it could lower participation among immigrants and cause a population undercount. The 2020 U.S. Census will add a question about citizenship status, a move that brought swift condemnation from Democrats who said it would intimidate immigrants and discourage them from participating. "By asking this question, states will not have accurate representation and individuals in impacted communities will lose out on state and federal funding for health care, education, and infrastructure".

Ross said he had determined that including the question would provide the most "complete and accurate" citizen voting age population (CVAP) data.

In an opinion piece Monday in the San Francisco Chronicle, Becerra and California Secretary of State Alex Padilla described the move as "truly insidious" and an "extraordinary attempt by the Trump administration to hijack the 2020 census for political purposes". "The addition of a citizenship question to the census questionnaire is a direct attack on our representative democracy".

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