Deadline: August 6, 2018 – Attacking immigrants by bureaucracy: the 2020 Census will include a new question on citizenship. Why? The Constitution requires that the Census count “all persons” – NOT all citizens. Members of Congress, whose districts are determined by the Census counts, represent all people, NOT just citizens. The Commerce Department, however, bizarrely claims citizenship data “is critical to the Department’s enforcement of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and its important protections against racial discrimination in voting.” Census experts and civil rights advocates strongly disagree. Read our earlier article here.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra immediately filed a lawsuit to prohibit the citizenship question from being used. Other lawsuits followed; one lawsuit, brought by a coalition of states and cities, led by New York, recently survived a challenge and is proceeding in New York federal court. Fifty-six House members signed a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on June 28, asking him to explain “contradictory and misleading statements” made by him and other members of the administration regarding the process behind the decision to add the citizenship question to the census.
Now you also have a chance to speak out on this racist, anti-immigrant ploy! The Census, including the citizenship question, is open for public comment until Monday, August 6. The main page is here; the comment page is here. Some possible points you may wish to include in your comment:
- There’s no evidence a citizenship question is needed to enforce the Voting Rights Act or to protect against racial discrimination in voting.
- Nonpartisan experts, including six former Census Bureau directors, believe the question is not properly tested and risks the accuracy of the Census.
- The question is likely to depress response rates, leading to a serious under-count
- The Constitution requires that the census count citizens and non-citizens alike.
- Any actions that appear hostile to non-citizens should be scrupulously avoided, especially in this very hostile political climate.
- Adding this question is likely to skew the census count by discouraging immigrants from participating, thus blocking states from receiving sufficient federal funding.