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Readers: No Citizenship Question Should Appear On 2020 Census

July 10, 2019 Featured, Politics/Policy No Comments

Despite being a hot national issue the question of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census got a low response on the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q: Agree or disagree: The 2020 Census should include a citizenship question

  • Strongly agree: 5 [23.81%]
  • Agree: 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat agree: 0 [0%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 1 [4.76%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 0 [0%]
  • Disagree: 4 [19.05%]
  • Strongly disagree: 11 [52.38%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 0 [0%]

An article that came out yesterday asks the right question:  What’s the big deal about adding a citizenship question to U.S. Census? (recommended reading)

What is the census used for?

The once-per-decade survey is mandated by the U.S. Constitution. Its results have major consequences for states. Census data is used to determine the number of congressional representatives for each state, and dictates how the federal government allocates more than $800 billion in funding for services such as schools and law enforcement.

Why did the Trump administration want to add the question?

A question about citizenship has not been asked of all households since the 1950 census. It has featured since then on questionnaires sent to a smaller subset of the population.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, whose department runs the census, announced in March 2018 that a citizenship question would be reinstated to produce better data on enforcement of the federal Voting Rights Act, which protects minorities’ electoral power. The government also said citizenship is a reasonable question to ask, noting that it is common in many other countries. The Census Bureau’s own experts estimated that households corresponding to 6.5 million people would not respond if the question were asked, leading to less accurate citizenship data.

In short, pushing to have the question added to the full decennial census is a power grab by the GOP — to gain seats in Congress.  The late GOP operative Thomas Hofeller left behind the evidence of the plot on his computer.

Files on those drives showed that he wrote a study in 2015 concluding that adding a citizenship question to the census would allow Republicans to draft even more extreme gerrymandered maps to stymie Democrats. And months after urging President Trump’s transition team to tack the question onto the census, he wrote the key portion of a draft Justice Department letter claiming the question was needed to enforce the 1965 Voting Rights Act — the rationale the administration later used to justify its decision. (New York Times)

This is clearly an attempt to intimidate people into not completing the Census, thereby undercounting millions in left-leaning states. Remember too — there are millions of non-citizens living legally in the US. A couple I know from India are here working with green cards — a family of five.

The constitution requires counting the persons living in the US — not citizens.

— Steve Patterson


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