Editorial Boards Agree, Citizenship Question Has No Place In the 2020 Census

This latest ploy by Donald Trump and his administration is an attempt to silence the voices of millions of immigrants across the United States. By including this question, the Commerce Department is paving the way for a highly flawed and inaccurate census count that could jeopardize representation in Congress and the allocation of critical resources that many working families – citizens and non-citizens alike – rely on.


Don’t take our word for it though, see coverage from across the country below:


San Francisco Chronicle: Editorial: No place on the census for citizenship inquiries


“Including a question on citizenship status will frighten noncitizens and immigrants, discouraging them from filling out the census forms and suppressing an accurate count of their population numbers. The once-in-a-decade census numbers are widely used for matters of enormous national import. They’re the basis for everything from the determination of congressional districts to federal spending. Major cities and diverse states — including California — suffer the most when immigrants are under-counted in the census.”


Baltimore Sun: Editorial: Sabotaged Census: Citizenship question guarantees undercount


“For more than six decades, the U.S. Census has gotten along very well without asking everyone living in this country to explain their immigration status. Why not ask? For one big reason: People who are undocumented would be naturally reluctant to respond. They would simply avoid the census — as is every American’s right, incidentally — for fear that the next knock on their door wouldn’t be a census taker, it would be a federal immigration agent.”


Washington Post: Congress should stop the Trump administration from fouling the census


“If immigrant communities are substantially undercounted, Democrats will lose seats in Congress and in statehouses. Political districts contain equal numbers of people, citizen and noncitizen alike. Nonvoters, of course, cannot choose who represents them in Washington or in state capitals. But minors, green-card holders and other nonvoters still count. Political representation has been apportioned according to this principle since the country’s founding. If the count is off in the urban centers where immigrants congregate, blue states will lose representation and rural areas will gain political clout even more disproportionate to the number of people who actually live in them.”


The Sacramento Bee: Trump’s Census ploy is his latest attack on immigrants. It will cost all Californians dearly


“Everyone – Republicans as well as Democrats – should want a fair and accurate count. Instead, having census-takers ask about citizenship status will discourage participation by citizens and non-citizens alike in immigrant communities where fear is already rampant due to federal raids and the lawsuit against California’s sanctuary laws. In California, many families are a mix of undocumented immigrants and U.S. citizens and legal residents. An estimated 4.7 million people – 12 percent of the total population – live with an unauthorized family member, according to a study last year.”


USA Today: Don't mess with the Census


“The actual Census, conducted every 10 years, is a sacred trust mandated by the Constitution to gain the most accurate count possible. This trust is sacred because it determines how many congressional districts each state gets and where those districts will be within each state. It is also used by states in their legislative redistricting efforts and by governments at all levels to make spending decisions. Census compliance relies on public trust. Trying to ask the citizenship question of someone in every household in America is a move calculated to make people uneasy about participation.”


The New York Daily News: Question the Census citizenship question


“If there’s disenfranchisement to worry about, it’ll stem straight from the Census undercounts that will result from undocumented respondents unwilling to confess their immigration status to the federal government. Most of the nation’s estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants live in cities — none more than the 1.2 million in ours. The lower the Census count, the fewer the Congressional districts, the lower the federal funding for schools and housing and more. The statistician’s pencil, weaponized.”


The New York Times: The Trump Administration Sabotages the Census


This is important because the census count determines how many House seats each state gets. The census is also used to determine how more than $600 billion in federal spending is allocated across the country, including Medicaid, food stamps and grants to schools. Asking about citizenship will reduce responses from immigrant families, which are already less likely than others to answer government surveys and are today terrified by President Trump’s anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric. An inaccurate count is likely to provide more representation to states with fewer immigrants and relatively higher response rates and take seats away from states like California where response rates would be relatively lower.”