Udayavni Special

Trump administration decides not to include citizenship question in 2020 US census


PTI, Jul 3, 2019, 11:17 AM IST

Washington: The Trump administration has said the questionnaires for the 2020 census would be printed without the citizenship question, a move seen as a major political victory for the opposition Democratic party, which joined hands with civil right groups against such a move.

The decision came after a Supreme Court ruling last week refused to allow the citizenship question to be added into the census questionnaires.

Trump’s opponents said that the citizenship question, which has not been included since 1950, would drive many immigrants to avoid answering out of fear of being caught up in Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration.

“The Census Bureau has started the process of printing the decennial questionnaires without the question (on citizenship). My focus, and that of the Bureau and the entire department is to conduct a complete and accurate census,” US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement on Tuesday.

The move was welcomed by the opposition Democratic party leaders. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, termed the decision as a welcoming development for the country’s democracy.

“House Democrats will be vigilant to ensure a full, fair and accurate Census.We will continue to advance strong legislation to secure critical funding to guarantee maximum participation and inclusion so that every person in every community is counted, she said.

Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer said the exclusion of citizenship question from the census is a victory for the US democracy and for fair representation of all communities in this country.

“The Trump administration’s politically-motivated efforts to undermine the Constitution in this instance were so reprehensible that even the conservative Supreme Court couldn’t let them get away with it. Democrats in Congress will be watching the Trump administration like a hawk to ensure there is no wrong-doing throughout this process and that every single person is counted, he said.

Indian-American Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference Education Fund, said that this is a victory for all those who fought so hard against this partisan ploy to weaponise the census and rig American democracy.

Now we double down on the work to ensure a fair and accurate count. We remain particularly committed to ensuring that hard-to-count communities, especially those understandably fearful of this administration’s motives, take part in the next census, she said. Gupta also said the census without the controversial citizenship question will ensure everyone is counted.

Through our census counts campaign, and alongside our allies, we will stay focused on making sure everyone is counted so that all of our country’s communities get the representation and resources they deserve, Gupta said.

Elijah Cummings, chairman of the House committee on Oversight and Reform, said that he felt encouraged that administration officials dropped President Trump’s unconstitutional plan to postpone the Census just because he lost the Supreme Court case.

“The Trump Administration put our country through more than a year of wasted time and squandered resources — all in the service of an illegal attempt to add a discriminatory question based on a pretext,” he said.

Steve Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, said President Trump tried to politicise the upcoming Census 2020 in a naked effort to instill fear in immigrants and communities of colour.

“But the Supreme Court of the US agreed with us, and today the Trump administration admitted defeat by removing this ridiculous citizenship question,” he said.

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