US Census Bureau: City population continues to grow

Border Patrol agents apprehend illegal immigrants near the US border with Mexico in the Rio Grande Valley Sector near McAllen Texas. – AFP

In a last-minute decision this week, the Commerce Department chose to include a question on citizenship on the 2020 census form mailed to every household in the United States.

Glenn Smith from Progress Texas says he believes the question is an intimidation tactic to prevent immigrants from participating in the census.

The Census Bureau now collects data on citizenship to comply with the 1965 law, which was passed to help protect minority groups' political rights, via forms sent to a portion of households.

These actions fly in the face of centuries of bipartisan consensus on the importance of a precise and reliable Census count, which is required by the United States Constitution. But a planned reduction in the number of temporary workers to be hired for the 2020 count means fewer multilingual census takers to try to track down people in immigrant communities who skip filling out the form, and fewer bodies to travel to remote rural areas. The Census Bureau's plans "to use digital technology for the first time without performing field tests will result in a 'massive undercount of communities of color, '" according to a Washington Post story.

On Tuesday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed suit against the move, saying on Twitter that "California simply has too much to lose".

Amid fears of deportation and heightened immigration raids, many households may refuse to participate in the census, officials cautioned. That said, it's not altogether a bad question to ask, along with others that help demographers provide more accurate statistical breakdowns of the USA population.

Colorado U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora, referred to the citizenship census question only in generalized terms.

If I get a census questionnaire that asks me such a question, I, like many others (each for our different reasons), will not answer it. The decision was made to help enforce the Voting Rights Act after the Justice Department requested the Census Bureau reinstate the question.

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She accused Trump of trying to rig the 2020 Census in a way that undermines residents' civil rights, leads to cuts in funding for important federal programs and distorts redistricting of voting districts. If that does not deter the participation of many illegal immigrants, how would a question on citizenship? The long-form version provides substantial data about the living conditions, work history and education of the US population, which are supplemented by periodic smaller surveys undertaken by the bureau to collect such information.

John Roy Castillo is also a personal lawyer, he told Letang that today more than ever, some people don't trust the government enough to answer a question about their citizenship. The count helps determine how federal and state election districts - where political battles are waged - are drawn.

Democrats have introduced legislation to block questions of citizenship or immigration status from being included in the census.

The Census Bureau can count at least one lying, conman, xenophobe now living in The White House.

As a matter of fact, the Census Bureau conducts surveys every year and know about how many foreign-born residents live in the United States.

"The same kind of thing could apply to naturalized citizens", he said.

A lower count, in turn, will lead to less representation of those communities in Congress and less federal aid.

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