28 March 2018

A new Census question

The US Census Bureau is being asked by the current administration to add a question about citizenship for the 2020 Census. ABC News reports on it saying,
Not since 1950 has the census collected citizenship data from the whole population, rather than just a population sample, says the Congressional Research Service. The decision to restore the question after decades prompted an immediate lawsuit from California — already tangling with Washington over immigration — and moves by other states with large immigrant populations to engage in a legal fight.

CityLab treats it as a planning issue, since it is used to allocate Federal funds for lots of programs. But, as they point out, this is not strictly an administrative issue:
There is, however, a legislative check on changes to the census. Article 1, section 2 of the Constitution lists “the actual Enumeration” as a responsibility of Congress. Representative Grace Meng of New York has already said that she will introduce legislation to block the citizenship question.

“Congress should immediately convene hearings to do what the Commerce Department failed to do—truly evaluate the impact that the citizenship questions will have in terms of depressing minority and immigrant community participation,” Clarke said.
I can't find the language, but was told that every new question requires a vote from Congress. That would be an interesting twist, if true.

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