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Oregon, Washington Join Challenge To Citizenship Question On 2020 Census

Oregon, Washington Join Challenge To Citizenship Question On 2020 Census

Editor's note: Rebecca Tippett is Director of Carolina Demography at UNC-Chapel Hill's Carolina Population Center. Furthermore, the proposed question is about citizenship, not legal status. Any adult living in the United States - not just citizens - is obligated by law to answer census questions or face a fine of up to $5,000.

And now President Donald Trump is adding a citizenship status question to the 2020 census.

The concern about the newly added question is not related to its content.

Also included in the submission to Congress are the planned questions for the 2020 American Community Survey - an annual survey that provides key socio-economic and housing statistics about the nation's rapidly changing population every year, rather than once a decade with what used to be known as the "long form".

The Department of Commerce stated that "between 1820 and 1950 nearly every decennial census asked about citizenship in some form", something the Associated Press has shown is not "exactly right". It is the foundation of our representative democracy.

"Moreover, because majority are not concentrated in the big blue states, and most of the federal funding tied to the census involves programs like Medicaid, Section 8 housing assistance, and support for school lunches, the new Ross-Sessions policy could cut federal funding to the 23 mainly red states with poverty rates above the national average".

"Such a dramatic undercount will especially dilute the votes of racial and ethnic minorities, deprive their communities of critical federal funds and undervalue their voices and interests in the political arena", the suit alleges. The Census Bureau canceled field tests in rural and tribal locations with hard-to-count populations and delayed research and development activities for the Integrated Partnership and Communications program.

The Census Bureau is banned by law from sharing respondents' answers with anyone. Census privacy protections didn't hold up well for Japanese-Americans who were incarcerated during World War II. A significant increase in nonparticipation could cost billions of dollars. The long-form version provides substantial data about the living conditions, work history and education of the USA population, which are supplemented by periodic smaller surveys undertaken by the bureau to collect such information. In North Carolina, the Bureau estimates that more than 25,000 young children were not counted in 2010, the 8th largest number of any state.

In its statement, the scientific advisory panel said Mr. Ross's analysis was based on "data collected in a different data collection context, in a different political climate, before anti-immigrant attitudes were as salient and consequential" as they are today. So do Australia and many other USA allies. It is, quite literally, time for North Carolinians to stand up and be counted.

Democrats want one question removed from the 2020 census: Are you a United States citizen?

That would skew the count, and could unfairly help Republicans in 2021, when national and state redistricting begins. At the local level, school districts may face challenges planning for the future if the 2020 data does not fully capture the population they will soon serve. Critics charge the question is motivated by the president's desire to uproot or de-legitimize non-citizens. Raising the issue with Idaho's next governor ahead of the 2020 census is also something she's considering.


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