The 2020 Census is getting closer, and the Trump administration’s promotion of a citizenship question is expected by the Census Bureau’s own experts to exert a chilling effect on families and households that include a noncitizen, and communities of color.
Former Gov. Gary Locke is advising people to boycott that question. He is now the chairman of Complete Count Committee—Washington state’s effort to get a complete count in the upcoming census.
“There’s absolutely no need for [that question],” Locke told The News Tribune. Locke was Commerce Secretary in the Obama administration during the 2010 Census. The Commerce Department administers the census.
The U.S. Census Bureau’s own research shows that Asian Americans have the highest rates of concern about census confidentiality and the mistrust is heightened by the citizenship question.
“The 2020 Census is our only chance in a decade to get a full and accurate count of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities,” said Terry Ao Minnis of Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC). “Without an accurate count, valuable dollars that support immigrant and minority communities will be lost, and they will not be represented accurately or served in the way they are Constitutionally entitled.”
Locke said people still will be counted if they skip the citizenship question and he said the Census Bureau won’t send people door-to-door if one question is not answered.
Late last month, The New York Times revealed that Thomas B. Hofeller, a GOP strategist who is now deceased, worked with the administration to include a citizenship question as a way to unlawfully advantage “Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.”
On June 18, AAJC and Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund submitted documents to U.S. District Court Judge George J. Hazel that contradicts the Trump administration’s claims that it added the citizenship question to enforce the federal Voting Rights Act.
“This new evidence explicitly reveals that the citizenship question was motivated by a desire to minimize representation of Latinos and disadvantage immigrants, non-citizens, and communities of color,” said AAJC President John C. Yang. “The census must be free from discrimination so that all communities have the access and resources they need to thrive.”
The U.S. Supreme Court is also expected to rule soon on a legal challenge that says the citizenship question is unconstitutional.
Until then, we applaud a prominent figure like Gary Locke for standing up for the rights of the disenfranchised, and stand with him in supporting a boycott.