Census bureau expert panel rebukes decision to add citizenship question

Census bureau expert panel rebukes decision to add citizenship question

Opponents of a Census question about citizenship status say it could further discourage immigrants from participating in the count, especially when they are already fearful of how information could be used against them.

Since then, the Census Bureau has collected information on citizenship from only a representative sample of the population: the approximately one-sixth of households that receive the so-called long-form questionnaire, which asks a number of demographic questions.

Given that Secretary Ross acknowledged just last week that whether to add the citizenship question to the upcoming decennial census "is a big and very controversial request", we ask that both he and Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore be called to testify at the soonest possible time to examine this decision.

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.

The Census Bureau can't legally turn over personal data to other government departments, but plenty of people won't find much comfort in that. In 2010, it cost almost $33 million to follow-up with the 975,000 North Carolina households that did not initially complete the federally mandated census form. From 1960 through 2000, it appeared on the long form sent to about one-sixth of US residences.

COMMERCE DEPARTMENT: "Between 1820 and 1950, nearly every decennial census asked a question on citizenship in some form".

According to initial reports, Ross made a decision to add the question to the count after a Department of Justice (DOJ) request based on the desire for better enforcement of the voting law, the U.S. Department of Commerce said in a statement.

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The NAACP filed a lawsuit this week arguing the Census Bureau, Ross and President Donald Trump, contending the government is unprepared to survey Americans and will inaccurately minority populations.

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. Supporters call it an effort to get an accurate count of the US population. By law, the agency is required to provide them to Congress by March 31, 2018, two years before the date of the next scheduled census (April 1, 2020).

It's too late to think that the Trump administration will do the right thing and voluntarily drop the citizenship question.

The goal of the USA census isn't to help authorities go out hunting for undocumented immigrants nor to discriminate when doling out tax-dollars based on whether you're a resident or a citizen.

The census, which is mandated under the U.S. Constitution and takes place every 10 years, counts every resident in the United States. A census undercount would only make that plight worse. The count helps determine how federal and state election districts - where political battles are waged - are drawn.

The Census Bureau can count at least one lying, conman, xenophobe now living in The White House.

But Democrats said the move will lead to the undercounting of legal immigrants, distorting the USA electoral balance.

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