March 28, 2018
States Sue Over 2020 Census Citizenship Question
“What the Trump Administration is requesting is not just alarming, it is an unconstitutional attempt to discourage an accurate census count.’
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, March 27, 2018
“Are You a U.S. Citizen?”
- Commerce Dept says question (a Trump administration request) is necessary to better measure the voting-eligible population.
- Critics say question will cause undercount of immigrants & minorities who might be afraid to disclose such information.
- Not a first: From 1820-1950 every census included a question about citizenship.
Why the Census Counts
- Mandated by U.S. Constitution.
- Tracks population every 10 years.
- Used to distribute the 435 seats in the House of Representatives and shapes congressional & state redistricting.
- Many federal & state programs rely on data to distribute fund$ used to build schools, roads, etc.
What’s at stake?
Why Are the States Suing?
- Constitutional crisis: Question willA interfere with mandate to conduct a full count of population.
- Undercounts:A Question may result in a shift of money/power to rural areas, which tend to have fewer undocumented immigrants than metropolitan areas.
- Immigration Enforcement:A No one knows if the data would be used against those who respond.
How do they take the Census anyway? Click to find out.
- Commerce Department’s announcement to include citizenship question:A https://www.commerce.gov/news/press-releases/2018/03/us-department-commerce-announces-reinstatement-citizenship-question-2020
- Decision to add citizenship question to census draws protest
Census counts are taken by mail and by workers walking neighborhoods. The Census Bureau says that the 2010 census drew a massive response, with about 74 percent of the households mailing in forms and the remaining households counted by workers in neighborhoods.A https://apnews.com/df9a6812fe144a429de1eeb5d3294134/Decision-to-add-citizenship-question-to-census-draws-protest
- Op-Ed by California’s attorney general: https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/Citizenship-question-on-2020-census-may-result-in-12783055.php
- The announcement of the citizenship question comes at a troublesome time for the Census Bureau: Its top two positions have interim occupants, and it has been forced toA skip two of its three trial runsA for the 2020 census because of funding shortfalls. If response rates for the census are low, critics worry that the bureau may be unable to adjust the data or deploy enough census takers to low-response communities.
by Jenna Lee,