Tag Archive

National: US wants to add citizenship query to census, but group of states and DC protest | Associated Press

It’s been nearly 70 years since census-takers last asked all residents in the nation whether they were U.S. citizens. Now the Trump administration’s Justice Department wants to reinstate the citizenship question for the 2020 census and says doing so would improve voting-rights enforcement. But California, other Democratic-majority states and immigrant advocates see a more sinister purpose: to reduce census participation by intimidating undocumented immigrants and their families, and thereby lowering population counts that are the basis for determining the number of a state’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Read More

National: A Citizenship Question on the Census May Be Bad for Your Health | The New York Times

As the Census Bureau finalizes the questions for the 2020 census, key voices in the Trump administration are pressing for surveyors to ask one critical question: Are you a United States citizen? Advocates of the so-called citizenship question say it is merely clerical, an effort to ascertain how many noncitizens reside in the United States. But the question would have broad ramifications, not only for the politics of redistricting that will emerge from the census but for an issue that goes beyond partisanship: public health. The fear is that immigrants — even ones in the country legally — will not participate in any government-sponsored questionnaire that could expose them, their family members or friends to deportation. But low response rates from any demographic group would undermine the validity of the next decade of health statistics and programs, health experts warn. Scientists use census data to understand the distribution of health conditions across the United States population. In turn, officials use the data to target interventions and distribute federal funding. Read More

National: Pick to help run 2020 Census no longer under consideration | Associated Press

The Trump administration’s pick for a key position overseeing the 2020 Census is out, the Commerce Department confirmed Monday, as civil rights groups applauded the decision. A Commerce Department spokesman said political scientist Thomas Brunell was no longer under consideration for deputy director of the Census Bureau but provided no further details. His selection had drawn criticism from Democrats and civil rights groups citing his lack of administrative experience and past support of Republican-led efforts to redraw congressional districts later determined to be excessively partisan. He authored the 2008 book, “Redistricting and Representation: Why Competitive Elections are Bad for America,” which argued partisan districts allow for better representation. Read More

National: Civil rights groups oppose a push to include citizenship on the Census | USA Today

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. Read More

National: A Citizenship Query Threatens Census, The Basis Of US Elections | AFP

The United States is gearing up to conduct its next population census in 2020 but a thorny question on citizenship has ignited controversy even before it has begun. When the decennial national headcount gets under way, census takers may have to ask respondents if they are US citizens, which observers say would discourage some ethnic minorities from participating and undermine the accuracy of the data. Arturo Vargas, head of the NALEO Educational Fund, said surveys have shown as recently as September that test respondents are now experiencing “unprecedented fear of the US government.” Read More

Kansas: Kobach Backs Citizenship Question, Targeting ‘One Person, One Vote’ | TPM

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has shed light on what may be driving the Trump administration’s push to ask about citizenship in the 2020 Census. In an op-ed written for Breitbart, Kobach endorses an approach to drawing voting districts in a way that would undermine the political power of immigrant-heavy communities. That approach, which culminated in a 2016 Supreme Court case, emerges from decades-old conservative opposition to the priniciple of “one person, one vote.” Kobach, a Republican who led President Trump’s now-defunct voter fraud commission, is known for pushing restrictive voting laws. In the op-ed, Kobach backs the idea of asking citizenship on the Census, something the Justice Department has also requested to be included on 2020 questionnaire.  Kobach suggests that doing so would encourage states to draw districts based on number of citizens or some similar metric. Currently, states draw districts based on total population. Read More

Editorials: President Trump is playing politics with the 2020 Census. It could backfire. | Judith Giesberg/The Washington Post

The 2020 Census is set to take place at a time of political turmoil, when Americans are experiencing a crisis in confidence in federal institutions. Unfortunately, the census is likely to exacerbate that crisis, because the Trump administration has enlisted it in the work of maintaining Republican political control. Signs of the administration’s strategy emerged in May, when John Thompson, director of the Census Bureau and a 27-year veteran of the agency, resigned over a congressional budget forecast he said was inadequate. The proposed cuts would undermine efforts to expand access — getting the word out to undercounted communities or experimenting with online responses. Those warning bells rang louder in December when news broke that President Trump would appoint as deputy director Thomas Brunell, a political scientist who has defended Republican gerrymandering tactics in court. Then, two weeks ago, ProPublica reported that administration officials have asked to include a new question about citizenship status — an addition clearly aimed at scaring immigrants away from participating and being counted. This should concern every American. Read More

National: Critics Say Questions About Citizenship Could Wreck Chances for an Accurate Census | The New York Times

A request by the Justice Department to ask people about their citizenship status in the 2020 census is stirring a broad backlash from census experts and others who say the move could wreck chances for an accurate count of the population — and, by extension, a fair redistricting of the House and state legislatures next decade. Their fear, echoed by experts in the Census Bureau itself, is that the Trump administration’s hard-line stance on immigration, and especially on undocumented migrants, will lead Latinos and other minorities, fearing prosecution, to ignore a census that tracks citizenship status. Their failure to participate would affect population counts needed not only to apportion legislative seats, but to distribute hundreds of billions of dollars in federal money to areas that most need it. Read More

New Jersey: Why everyone in New Jersey might not be counted in the 2020 Census | NJ.com

The 2020 Census is about two years away, but researchers already fear that not every person will be accurately counted. The Census Bureau, which every 10 years conducts its actual count of people as mandated by the U.S. Constitution, has been plagued with problems ranging from budget issues, cancelled tests and a leadership vacuum that has become unusually politicized. It is especially worrisome in New Jersey, which has growing communities of color and immigrant populations that could effectively be disenfranchised, experts say. Read More

National: Are We About to Lose Our Unbiased Census? | History News Network

The foundational principle of American government is popular sovereignty, as in “We, the People.” Through a system of “successive filtrations,” James Madison said at the Federal Convention, a “great fabric” of government could be raised—but it needed to “rest on the solid foundation of the people themselves,” who would elect representatives to serve in Congress. It was a grand idea, but only an “actual Enumeration” could determine how many representatives each state was entitled to. Without a fair, accurate, and periodic census, Madison’s “great fabric” would lose its underpinnings. Other ruling bodies had counted heads before, but none had made a point to count all of the people (rather, say, than males eligible for military service) to determine political representation. It took a census to empower the people. Read More