Tags: department of justice | census bureau | citizenship

Report: DOJ Requests Citizenship Question on 2020 Census

Image: Report: DOJ Requests Citizenship Question on 2020 Census
 In this Dec. 15, 2015 file photo, participants hold the Oath of Allegiance and American flags during a naturalization ceremony attended in Washington. (Evan Vucci/AP)

By    |   Friday, 29 December 2017 10:57 PM

The Department of Justice has made a request that a question about citizenship be added to the 2020 census, a move some observers feel could affect participation by immigrants who might fear the information could be used against them, Pro Publica reported Friday.

In a letter dated Dec. 12 that was previously unreported, the Justice Department explained they needed the information to better enforce the Voting Rights Act "and its important protections against racial discrimination in voting."

A Census Bureau spokesman confirmed they had received the letter, though the DOJ and the White House declined to comment.

"People are not going to come out to be counted because they're going to be fearful the information would be used for negative purposes," said Steve Jost, a former top bureau official during the 2010 census. "This line about enforcing voting rights is a new and scary twist."

The results from the census will determine how the 435 seats in the House of Representatives will be distributed. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross can decide on which questions will be included in the census. Questions for consideration must be submitted to Congress by April 2018 — two years before the census takes place.

The Justice Department made the argument that the question was necessary in order to enforce Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act which disallows the dilution of the voting power of a minority group that might come about through redistricting.

"To fully enforce those requirements, the Department needs a reliable calculation of the citizen voting-age population in localities where voting rights violations are alleged or suspected," the letter stated.

The last time the census had a question about citizenship was in the early 19th century, although the Census Bureau has acquired that information through other surveys, the article stated.

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The Department of Justice has made a request that a question about citizenship be added to the 2020 census, a move some observers feel could affect participation by immigrants who might fear the information could be used against them, Pro Publica reported Friday.
department of justice, census bureau, citizenship
297
2017-57-29
Friday, 29 December 2017 10:57 PM
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