Citizenship question in census brings U.S. into line with worldwide practice

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"Every subsequent survey and study that intends to be statistically representative of the USA population will be built on decennial data, and any inaccuracies will be felt for at least a decade", Almy said in a news release on the association's website.

"The results of someone not being included in the federal census include less representation in Congress, less representation in the Electoral College, and less financial support from the federal government in communities that are often the most vulnerable", she wrote.

Bob Ross, president of the Prince George's County NAACP, is a plaintiff listed on the lawsuit against President Trump, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the secretary of commerce, demanding a more accurate count of minority populations.

However, the proposal is causing quite the backlash, with at least 20 states urging the Commerce Department to drop the question.

Alabama Attorney General Steven Marshall said the American Community Survey is so small, with a correspondingly large margin of error, that it is an ineffective tool for understanding lightly populated rural areas of the country.

According to Congressman Steve King, "The Commerce Department has granted my request and is restoring a necessary citizenship question to improve the quality of census data gathered", said King.

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.

Asked about the concerns of an undercount, Murante said that before agreeing that those concerns have merit, he would need to see demonstrated evidence that the citizenship question would produce "significant lying to the Census Bureau".

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The Census Bureau already asks 3.5 million households if family members were born in the United States - and, if not, if they were naturalized - in its annual American Community Survey, which tracks changes in US demographics.

California also filed a similar lawsuit on Tuesday disputing the same question. The lower the Census count, the fewer the Congressional districts, the lower the federal funding for schools and housing and more.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration over its decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau questionnaire.

"They don't want you to be counted, they don't want you to fill out the Census form, the best way to fight this is to actually fill out the form and send it in", said Jose Carrillo with the National Association of Latino Elected Officials.

But experts say that the American Community Survey differs so substantially from the decennial census that using evidence from one to make decisions about the other without further testing is misguided.

Becerra's efforts were mirrored by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who said in a statement on March 27 that he would lead a multi-state effort against the Census Bureau question. "Since the first day of his presidential campaign and through his first year in office, President Trump has targeted immigrants: vilifying them and attempting to exclude them from the country".

However, opponents say the question will intimidate immigrant communities and impact future elections. "There's no proof that anybody is going to be intimated by this", Simpson said.

When the census switched to sending out two different census forms, the short form and the long form, the long form (which went to one out of every six households) contained a citizenship question.