Congressional lawmakers, mayors and civil rights activists are ramping up efforts to urge federal officials to reject a request to include a controversial question about citizenship in the upcoming Census. With only weeks before the deadline to submit questions for the 2020 Census, the groups are calling on Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to turn down a request from the Justice Department to ask respondents if they are citizens. “This is not the time to parachute in and try to throw something in at the last minute, particularly something so incendiary that is likely to impact people’s willingness to participate,” said Terry Ao Minnis, director of Census and Voting Programs at Asian Americans Advancing Justice.
The Justice Department asked Census officials in December to add the question to the Census form. That request is pending. The agency has until March 31 to submit Census questions to Congress.
Minnis and other opponents say adding the question is unnecessary and will lead to an inaccurate count because some people may be afraid to fill out the form.