United States to Add Citizenship Question to 2020 Census

U.S. will reinstate question about citizenship in 2020 Census Commerce Dept

Critics have charged that the Census is supposed to count all United States residents, including illegal aliens, who are believed less likely to respond to forms in the mail that include a citizenship question.

California's attorney general has said he will try to block the move.

Speaking at the White House press briefing on Tuesday, spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders argued that the question was backed by tradition.

Ross cast the decision as a "reinstatement" of the citizenship question, which last appeared on the decennial census in 1950.

Schneiderman says the decision to add the question "directly targets" states with large immigrant populations.

Commerce says that between 1820 and 1950, nearly every decennial census asked a question on citizenship in some form.

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.

In a statement, the Commerce Department pointed to previous census questions as justification for the shift.

If non-citizens in MA don't answer the census honestly, or at all, said Galvin, that will affect the population numbers for the state - which would then affect representation in Congress as well as access to federal funds for transportation or education, among other things, that are linked to population size. 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.




Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Monday night announced the decision to include the citizenship question over the objections of Democrats and civil rights groups in a post on the Commerce Department website.

As early as September of a year ago, months before the announcement that the question was a possibility, Census researchers spoke up about exactly these concerns. Asking census respondents if they are citizens would help the government gather now unavailable data on the population of people who are actually eligible to vote, the memorandum said.

The Justice Department recently announced it was suing California over state and city laws the federal government has said extend protections to people living in the country illegally in so-called "sanctuary cities".

The US state of California has already filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration, arguing that the decision to add a question about citizenship in the 2020 Census violates the US Constitution.

Eric Holder, the former attorney-general under Barack Obama and present chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, said he would also litigate to stop what he described as "a direct attack on our representative democracy".

His agency has until the end of this month to submit a final list of 2020 census questions to Congress.

"Undercounting the sizeable number of Californian non-citizens and their citizen relatives will imperil the State's fair share of congressional seats and Electoral College electors and will cost the State billions in federal funding over the next decade", the attorney general's lawsuit says.

MA has an all-Democratic congressional delegation and its Electoral College votes have gone to the Democratic presidential nominee in 13 of the last 15 presidential elections.

In an op-ed published on the San Francisco Chronicle website, Becerra said a citizenship question "would discourage noncitizens and their citizen family members from responding to the census, resulting in a less accurate population count".

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