No Consensus on the Census, Citizenship Question Debate Continues

No Consensus on the Census, Citizenship Question Debate Continues

Max Rodriguez

A simple head-count of the country’s population has gone political, the Trump administration insists on adding a citizenship question on next year’s census despite a ruling opposing the question by the Supreme Court of the United States.

The question would read, “Is this person a citizen of the United States,” a question researchers said may deter certain populations from participating in next year’s census.

However, President Trump said it is a perfectly acceptable question to include in the survey.

The President said, “You go through all of this detail and you’re not allowed to ask whether or not somebody is a citizen so you can ask other things but you can’t ask if somebody is a citizen, so we’re trying to do that.”

National and local rights groups disagree, including Silvia Paz, the Executive Director of Alianza Coachella Valley. Paz along with other members of Alianza are helping educate the desert community of the importance to participate in the Census.

Paz said, “I mean the damage has been made and we as community organizations have an added layer of responsibility to inform our residents about why the census matters, that their information is confidential.”

The Trump administration’s reason for adding the question was to better enforce parts of the Voting Rights Act.

The SCOTUS majority found the reason for the question’s addition was contrived and ruled out the question for now.

Paz said, “What the SCOTUS decided was that the administration had really not given a credible reason as to why the citizenship question was needed in the first place.”

She said some people are already distrustful of the government and adding a citizenship question may prevent undocumented people from participating.

Paz said, “Any information that’s given to the census bureau is protected by law, it’s confidential and the Census Bureau is not allowed to share that information with anybody.”

She said it is important for people in the country to participate in the questionnaire regardless of legal status, as the count will show if a community needs more schools, clinics, and government representation.

The Trump administration continues to push to add the question onto the 2020 census, even after 1.5 billion mail-outs have begun printing.