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Trump wants to Delay 2020 Census after Supreme Court Ruling

On Thursday, June 27th, the Supreme Court ruled to not abide by the wishes of the Trump administration by preventing a citizenship question from being on the 2020 United States census. In response to the ruling, Trump has contacted lawyers to see about delaying the census.

The census has been done every ten years since 1790. On that first census, there were six categories including; free white males 16 and older, free white males under 16, free white women, all other free persons, and slaves. The 2010 census, in comparison, had increased diversity of races. It included Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin, White, Black, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Native Hawaiian, Guamanian or Chamorro, Samoan, or other Pacific Islander. The major variance between census forms has been the inclusion of different races, but the Trump administration now wants to move in another direction.

The census of 1950 was the last one to include a citizenship question. In 1980, the Census Bureau was sued and it was argued by the United States government that “any effort to ascertain citizenship will inevitably jeopardize the overall accuracy of the population count.” Furthermore, the Census Bureau published its own research in 2017 that affirmed the assumption that a citizenship question would cause severe privacy concerns of citizens.

“One FR said that in June she was doing a Census Bureau survey interview with questions about
citizenship status. A Spanish-speaking respondent answered that he was not a citizen, and then
appeared to lie about his country of origin. When the FR started asking about his year of entry
into the U.S., he “shut down” and stopped responding to her questions. He then walked out
and left her alone in the apartment, which had never happened to her during an interview
before,” reads the MEMORANDUM FOR Associate Directorate for Research and Methodology by the Center for Survey Measurement.

The reluctance of immigrants to answer such a question is understandable in the current political climate. In 2018, ICE reported over 250,000 deportations. The tension the current political leaders in the U.S. have created around immigration and illegal immigrants, in general, has bred fear in all those seeking a better life in this country. It is assumed that if the citizenship question were to be included on the census, immigrants will avoid filling out the census and directly mess with global data.

The reason stated by the Trump administration for the citizenship question would be to aid in enforcing the Voting Rights Act. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote that the aforementioned reasoning “appears to have been contrived.” In order for the question to appear on the forms going out to all households next year, the administration must offer a better, more justified reason to include the citizenship question.

In response to the recent ruling, Trump has sought advice on if he can delay the census. Since the Constitution states that a census must occur every ten years, Trump’s suggestion causes a legal dilemma. Alan Lowenthal, a U.S. representative, said, “Essentially, we would be facing a constitutional crisis.” Legislative action would need to be taken to move back the census date of April first of the year 2020.

In order to ensure accurate and equal representation of the United States population, a citizenship question on the national census would be detrimental to gaining the data needed. The Supreme Court has ruled to block the question, but Trump is pushing to take unprecedented action to get his and his administration’s way.

Image: Alpha Stock Images

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