Commerce Dept. to include citizenship question on USA census

Opposition mounts to Trump administration attempt to ‘rig the census

Opposition mounts to Trump administration attempt to ‘rig the census

The Census survey before 1950 asked citizenship questions consistently, the department said, adding that the recent decision was prompted by a request from the Department of Justice in December previous year, as census block level citizenship voting age population (CVAP) data is not now available from government surveys.

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.

The Census, which happens only once every 10 years, is used to determine the allocation of $700 billion in federal grant money, apportion representatives in Congress, and determine how electoral boundaries are drawn and how many votes each state is given in the Electoral College.

"The Trump administration's decision to ask about citizenship on the U.S. Census is a gross political act that launches another missile at the heart of NY".

President Donald Trump's administration has requested that a controversial question about USA citizenship be added to the 2020 census, which has set critics abuzz with charges of illegality and undercounting.

The Center for Immigration Studies, a group that pushes for decreased immigration says participation in the census has already decreased and that it seems unlikely that a citizenship question would decrease census participation. But this decision, unlike bad or illegal policy, can't be repealed or dismantled.

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

The move invited immediate backlash from Congressional lawmakers, mayors and civil rights activists, who said that the move was created to undercount immigrants and minorities, the USA Today reported.

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Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a memorandum at the time of the announcement that, after examining various potential impacts, he found "the need for accurate citizenship data and the limited burden that the reinstatement of the citizenship question would impose outweigh fears about potentially lower response rate".

He also said some opponents didn't realize the question used to be standard on the Census.

Citizenship is already asked on the Census's American Community Survey, the Current Population Survey and the Survey of Income and Program Participation.

Former Census Bureau director Kenneth Prewitt said the decision "makes for a stormy situation given the unique visibility of the census".

But California isn't the only state that has opposed the citizenship question.

The citizenship question will be similar to the one included since 2005 on the American Community Survey, which is sent annually to a sample of about 2.6 percent of the population.

California would be particularly hard-hit by the change, due to its high proportion of foreign-born and undocumented residents, as Becerra's lawsuit states. An undercount, Becerra and Padilla argued, could jeopardize crucial community services such as homeland security funds, natural disaster preparation, and health care and infrastructure resources.

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