Census Bureau's Own Expert Panel Rebukes Decision to Add Citizenship Question

Grace Meng's office

Glenn Smith from Progress Texas says he believes the question is an intimidation tactic to prevent immigrants from participating in the census. That's why four former census directors who served in both Democratic and Republican administrations filed an amicus brief in a voting rights case three years ago arguing that "because a one-by-one citizenship inquiry would invariably lead to a lower response rate to the census in general, such an inquiry would seriously frustrate the Census Bureau's ability to conduct the only count the Constitution expressly requires". Marion points to how the state is on the cusp of losing one of its two congressional districts in citing the importance of getting an accurate count of the state's population.

"But we are going to make sure that our community understands that they count for the United States and should participate".

According to State Demographer Susan Brower, Minnesota receives $8 billion a year in federal funding tied to an accurate census count. This decision comes on the heels of a presidential budget request that would have under-funded the Census Bureau by more than $400 million, according to the Administration's own cost estimates, and the nomination - and then withdrawal - of a senior Census official notorious for his defense of extreme partisan gerrymandering in North Carolina and elsewhere.

A coalition of attorneys general voiced their opposition to the citizenship question because it would "disproportionately harm states and cities with large immigrant communities" by threatening those areas' representation in Congress and their share of federal funds.

The Census Bureau hasn't included a citizenship question in its once-a-decade survey sent to all USA households since 1950, before the Civil Rights era and passage of a 1965 law created to help ensure minority groups in the count are fully represented.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said collecting citizenship data has been "a long-standing historical practice".

On December 12, 2017, DOJ requested that the Census Bureau reinstate a citizenship question on the decennial census to provide census block level citizenship voting age population (CVAP) data that is not now available from government surveys.

"The 2020 decennial census is the department's top priority".

The U.S. Commerce Department announced earlier this week that it will ask about citizenship in the 2020 census at the request of the Justice Department. But there is no evidence that a citizenship question would dramatically impact census participation. Moreover, President Trump's reelection campaign sent an email to potential contributors asking them to weigh in on the President's desire to add the citizenship question before Secretary Ross made his final decision.

This will mean less minority representation in government and fewer federal resources parceled out to those states and communities with Hispanic, black, and Middle Eastern populations - exactly what Trump is seeking.

If you are not and someone from the federal government asks you that question, your blood might freeze. The members also challenged his decision to forgo testing the question's wording, saying it reflected different motivations and uses in the American Community Survey - including a reference to United States territories that would appear "puzzling" on the 2020 census.

Other government surveys ask about citizenship, but the Justice Department said those don't get at the same level of granularity that the decennial census does.

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