Trump officials strain truth on census change
- Author: Leroy Wright Mar 31, 2018,
Mar 31, 2018, 19:39
If the decision stands - the attorney general of California, Xavier Becerra, has filed a lawsuit seeking to block it, and other elected officials are doing so, too - it would be the first time in almost 70 years that the federal government has asked people filling out census forms to list their citizenship status.
I can not relay how disappointed I am in @CommerceGov's decision to reinstate a citizenship question on the upcoming 2020 Decennial #Census. But the question resurfaced in 1970 in the new "long form" questionnaire, which was sent to one in 38 households. Also, until 1950, it was a standard question. Another told Meyers, "Particularly with our current political climate, the Latino community will not sign up because they will think that Census will pass their information on and people can come looking for them".
The Census Bureau is required to count people where they live on April 1, 2020, not where they are registered to vote.
In December, a Department of Justice official wrote a letter to Ross, asking him to consider adding a citizenship question. In 2010, the overall census count was highly accurate, but certain populations were undercounted, meaning they were missed in the census totals.
The evidence that does exist shows that the concerns about the citizenship question curbing participation are legitimate.
In addition, while smaller population surveys can be adjusted statistically to account for people who don't respond, the decennial census is an actual hard count of the population. Shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Census Bureau shared personally identifying information including the name, address, citizenship and country of origin of Japanese-Americans with the War and Justice Departments.
Critics disagree. The former Census Bureau directors said they were "deeply concerned" the untested question would impact the rate, quality and truthfulness of responses. They are effectively arguing that sanctuary cities should be rewarded with more federal money for interfering with the federal enforcement of our immigration laws and turning themselves into magnets for illegal immigrants.
Glenn Smith from Progress Texas says he believes the question is an intimidation tactic to prevent immigrants from participating in the census.
Civil rights groups and state attorney generals have charged that the change is politically motivated and will result in a detrimental undercount. And Democrats, who claim to be deeply concerned about foreign interference in our democracy, seem to have no problem with foreign interference when it comes to noncitizens in the United States illegally affecting the distribution of seats in Congress. But a planned reduction in the number of temporary workers to be hired for the 2020 count means fewer multilingual census takers to try to track down people in immigrant communities who skip filling out the form, and fewer bodies to travel to remote rural areas.
The multistate effort to get Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to reverse inclusion of the citizenship question is the right fight.
The NAACP is spearheading a lawsuit filed Wednesday against the Census Bureau and President Donald Trump, saying the federal government is unprepared for the 2020 Census, and that will lead to a massive undercounting of African-Americans. - Memo on Monday explaining decision to include citizenship question.