View from Away: Question on citizenship will undercut census


Trump's critics say the citizenship question would result in an undercount on the census because immigrants would avoid responding to it.

Federal law requires that citizens are counted in a decennial census that not only helps redraw political boundaries, but also for counties and states to receive federal money for improvement of schools, roads and other needs.

Finally, it is important to recognize that the census, by virtue of its attempt to count all of the population, is the backbone of thousands of government and private sector surveys that guide decision-making over the course of the entire next decade. But even by this administration's low standards, trifling with the census, which is required by the Constitution and is a fundamental building block of American democracy, represents a serious breach of trust.

Some 12 states are considering a lawsuit to block the administration, arguing that the change would cause undercounting and violate the Constitution, which clearly states that the goal of the census is to get an accurate count of everyone who lives in this country, regardless of status. This comes just as many Puerto Ricans have left the island for the mainland after a shamefully lacking response by the Trump administration to deal with the prolonged, post-Hurricane Maria blackouts that continue there. If a household does not fill out the census form, then census workers visit that household to gather census data.

Lamborn said it's imporatnt to know who's a US citizen and who's not. But the question resurfaced in 1970 in the new "long form" questionnaire, which was sent to one in 38 households.

"For the approximately 90 percent of the population who are citizens, this question is no additional imposition", Ross wrote in his memo. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the Justice Department requested the question be added in order to help determine possible violations of the Voting Rights Act and to help enforce the law.

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

She added that the bureau spent years testing a question about race, so it was remarkable that the bureau would add a question about citizenship without the same level of thorough vetting.

Shapiro, however, concluded that population figures in states with the largest number of illegal immigrants - Nevada, Texas, California, New Jersey, Arizona, Florida, and Maryland - could be thrown off if millions of people decline to fill out their census surveys. We agree with this statement, and want to ensure that every aspect of the Census is free from political motivations and that any request to make major changes is supported by analysis and documentation. "The bill would prohibit any late untested design changes or questions to the census, including questions about citizenship".

Every year, the federal government invests about $2,000 per person in California based on census data.

We don't know if the federal government would count an incomplete form. Not so, says the president's press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Beyond our serious concerns about the addition of the citizenship question to the 2020 Census, we believe that this Committee must re-examine the many known management and operational challenges the Census Bureau is confronting as planning and preparations intensify, particularly on the eve of the end-to end test.