Census Bureau Releases List of Planned Questions for 2020 Census

Census Bureau Releases List of Planned Questions for 2020 Census

Secretary Ross's decision follows a request by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to add a question on citizenship status to the 2020 decennial census.

The obvious intent of including a citizenship question in the census is to discourage immigrants - especially those who are undocumented - from participating in the count. As the Census Bureau points out, "It is against the law for any Census Bureau employee to disclose or publish any census or survey information that identifies an individual or business.?.?. the FBI and other government entities do not have the legal right to access this information".

The U.S. Constitution requires that all residents of the United States be counted every 10 years.

Robert Shapiro, who worked in the Commerce Department during the Clinton administration and oversaw the 2000 census, wrote a piece for the Brookings Institution in which he argued that everything from allocation of federal funds to the number of congressional districts could be impacted in certain states.

Colorado U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Denver, was an outspoken critic this week of the Trump administration's census plans.

"Having an accurate Census count should be of the utmost importance for every Californian", California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement. The short form went to most households in America.

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It should be clarified that the Trump administration is not going to stop counting illegal immigrants, but simplify ask people for their status, in order to get an accurate estimate of how many citizens and non-citizens live in the country. Those factors explain why IL is one of at least 11 states that are gearing up to sue to keep the Trump administration from including the citizenship question in the census. Today, surveys of sample populations, such as the Current Population Survey and the ACS, continue to ask a question on citizenship. The Justice Department says it would use the data to help enforce the Voting Rights Act.

The commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, announced the decision late Monday, less than a week before the Census Bureau, which his agency oversees, is supposed to send a final list of questions for the 2020 census to Congress.

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.

The decennial census influences political representation in Congress and federal funding for an assortment of programs. The Trump administration has chose to include in the census a question about citizenship status. It would be a disgrace to see the 2020 census used as a political football, with tweets from the White House to rile up some voting blocs while frightening other groups into not participating. But it's disputable that the question's impact has been "well-tested" when it comes to including it on a government form aimed at counting every resident in the U.S. States, communities and businesses depend on the full census for key decisions on where to build schools, hospitals, stores and more, information only available in a comprehensive count.

But Democrats said the move will lead to the undercounting of legal immigrants, distorting the U.S. electoral balance. Citizenship questions have also been included on prior decennial censuses.

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