Trump Is Undermining the 2020 Census. Marginalized Communities Will Bear the Brunt.

The United States census is constitutionally required to happen every 10 years, making 2020 the next year that this massive population and housing count will take place. Its importance is enormous. The results of the census will determine how more than $675 billion in public funds are allocated and spent, the number of seats allotted for each state in the U.S. House of Representatives, and how congressional and legislative districts are drawn.

Making sure that the census is accurate, accessible, and impartial should be the government’s top priority. Unfortunately, the Trump administration seems intent on undermining such a goal in the run-up to the census in 2020.

Last month, for example, the Justice Department requested that the 2020 census add a question on citizenship. As of now, the census does not ask about legal status, upholding its purpose to “count every person living” in the U.S. Adding such a question could deter many people from taking the survey if they fear that answering would expose themselves or a loved one to arrest or deportation.

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Immigrants are already less likely to respond to surveys. But, with the Trump administration preying upon immigrant communities and stoking a xenophobic political climate, experts are worried that even fewer will participate in 2020.

Undercounting communities with large immigrant populations could mean weakened political representation, and the loss of millions of dollars in aid in areas like health, education, and infrastructure.

Other groups won’t be counted at all. Back in March, the census appeared to reverse itself on whether to ask questions about sexual orientation and gender identity. The category was included in a proposed list of topics for the 2020 survey, but it was dropped after the administration said it had been “inadvertently listed” in a draft proposal. Advocates have called for the category to be included as the census has a key role in determining how funding is directed on matters like health care and housing, where the LGBT community has faced discrimination.

Together, these incidents could jeopardize the fairness and accuracy of the census, leading to fewer public funds and less political representation for already vulnerable communities. The next census won’t be until 2030. We’d better get this one right.

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Dr. Timothy Leary

All American businessman know to do is the screw everybody every which way they can. Trump is an American businessman so what can you expect ?


Timothy Leary, are you still here on Earth?


By adding a category of "immigrant" does in no way target anyone "illegal." Immigrants make up a large section of our legal population.
The article failed to make this distinction. Surely, there are many liberal social justice organizations that rely on how many non-citizen immigrants there are in the USA.


I believe you misread: they were requesting to add a category of "citizenship status".


I would think that knowing how.many immigrants were in an area would be important information as they are a subset of society that has specialized needs. Being able to estimate the need for esp before the children showed up for the first day of school means the school won't have to scramble and find new esl teachers at the last minute.


the question in the article was about citizenship, not immigrants.

Devil's Advocate

ALL political parties and org's manipulate with propaganda, varying from twisting the interpretation to outright lying. ACLU's 'article' about a new category to 2020 census is beyond propaganda and makes clear their emphasis is not 'AMERICAN' (or AMERICANS) civil liberties; those in this country ILLEGALLY are being given more rights, protections, and help than citizens ... but it's the tax-paying citizens who pick up the tab.
ANYONE who has done genealogy research can likely tell you that [federal] census forms (up thru 1940) often asked specifically about CITIZENSHIP STATUS, including what country individual was born in, what country each of their parents was born in, what year they entered U.S., how long they have been residing in U.S., and specifics as to their citizenship status. THIS category should be included on EVERY Census n(federal and state). I've worked with state census data, but not enough to cite specific data.
BTW --- I think we'd see eye-opening results if govt (honestly and accurately) compared data re: both 'legal residents' and 'illegals' to voter registration rolls. I'm betting there are enough people registered that are NOT U.S. citizens to impact outcome of election/s.


I fully support the changes. Why should people here illegally continue to benefit? We need to remove incentives from sanctuary cities such as the additional funding based on purely counting versus knowing if they are here legally.

Barbara D. Reed

The word "immigrant" does NOT specify that a person is here illegally. There are legal immigrants too-those who have gone thru the vetting process and have their green cards.


It's not like we're talking about cash welfare. It's things like block grants for police departments, how much funding the federal judiciary gets for each federal court nationwide, how many FBI agents are assigned to each field office, etc. Getting these right depends on having a pretty accurate picture of how people they'll serve -- regardless of citizenship status.


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