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Trump Administration Includes Controversial Citizenship Question on the 2020 Census

posted on: Mar 28, 2018

Trump Administration Includes Controversial Citizenship Question on the 2020 Census

On Tuesday, the Department of Commerce announced it will include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. The Census normally counts people who reside in the U.S., but asking to count people who are U.S. citizens is unprecedented–for the first time in seventy years.

The justice department made the request provoking former Attorney General, Eric Holder, to state that he would sue the Trump administration to remove the question from the Census. Holder, who is with the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, stated, “In deciding to add this question without even testing its effects, the Administration is departing from decades of census policy and ignoring the warnings of census experts.”

On Tuesday, the Arab American Institute issued this statement from AAI Executive Director Maya Berry on the inclusion of an untested question on citizenship in the 2020 Census:

“The decision by Secretary Ross and the Department of Commerce to move forward with the inclusion of a citizenship question on the decennial census makes it clear that the Trump Administration is choosing to politicize the constitutionally mandated responsibility of conducting the census. This decision will deter many from responding to the decennial census, creating legitimate concern about the confidentiality of their personal information and fear about how their response to this question will be used to target them. In short, this question will do exactly what the Trump Administration is intending by adding it without testing or thorough review, it will suppress the count.

By abandoning the intensively researched combined-question format and MENA category, failing to fill leadership roles at the Census Bureau with qualified candidates, underfunding the Census Bureau, and now including an intrusive and untested question that will no doubt deter many from responding –  this administration has jeopardized one of the foundational practices of our nation, choosing to play politics over allowing for a fair and accurate count. The census is not simply an academic exercise. An undercount as a result of these decisions and the politicization of the process will have real, harmful consequences for communities across the country that stand to lose representation and funding.

As always, we will continue to fight for the needs of our community and all those affected by the threat of an inaccurate count. We will continue to demand congressional action for nothing short of a full and accurate count in 2020.”

The Census uses the data it receives to determine federal funds for education, health, roads, and the makeup of congressional districts.

The Census must submit questions to Congress no later than March 31st.

Related Stories: The 2020 Census–Arabs Need Not Apply


Compiled by Arab America