Andrew Harnik / AP
The announcement of the inclusion of a citizenship question in the Census Questionnaire 2020 has triggered calls for trial, laws and now several hearings in Congress. In a letter to the chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee of the US Senate, which oversees the US Census Bureau, four Democratic senators call for a hearing on the upcoming national staff.
Sens. Kamala Harris of California, Tom Carper of Delaware, Gary Peters of Michigan and Claire McCaskill of Missouri – the highest-ranking member of the committee – are seeking the staff of Census Bureau and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, who oversees the office and decides to add citizenship issue , They express deep concerns about the citizenship issue, as well as the lack of permanent leadership in the office and the operational challenges in the implementation of the 2020 census.
"Together, they risk Issues a significant undercutting of people in the 2020 Census, with far-reaching implications for proportional representation in Congress, federal government's share of the US dollar, the accuracy of the information companies use to decide where they are, the availability of affordable ones Broadband services and natural disaster financing, "the Senators write in the letter provided to NPR by Harris & # 39; Office
" We are concerned that the addition of the citizenship issue will be due to inappropriate political considerations n impaired, "the letter continues. "The DOJ has requested the addition of this question in December 2017 based on an unsubstantiated claim that citizenship data is needed to enforce section 2 of the electoral law, even though a citizenship question was asked the last time before the suffrage was passed and similar requests were made On the home page, MEP Elijah Cummings, D-Md., called on Tuesday for a similar hearing on the Citizenship Question by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, for which he was the highest-ranking member
"The Trump government's plan to include a new, unchecked question on citizenship will increase the cost to American taxpayers and reduce the accuracy of the census itself," Cummings said.
On Thursday, the Census Bureau unveiled one Report to Congress the W or Citizenship Question: "Is this person a citizen of the United States?" All US households have not asked such a census question since 1950, although smaller Census Bureau surveys include citizenship issues.
The Department of Justice sent a late request to the Department of Commerce in December to add the question, close to nine months after the Census Bureau issued a final report on the issues for the 2020 Census to Congress.
DOJ said it needed a better count of eligible citizens from the census to enforce protection against electoral discrimination under the electoral law. The department relies on estimates from US citizens based on the American Community Survey, an annual survey conducted by the Census Bureau with a smaller sample of approximately 3.5 million participants since the law entered into force. But critics of the citizenship issue say they are skeptical of the timing of the Justice Department's request. They fear that non-nationals, especially unauthorized immigrants, will continue to be prevented from joining the national workforce.
In his memo on Monday approving the request for a citizenship question, Ross wrote: "I think that's true citizenship data and the limited burden that reintroducing the nationality question would outweigh the fear of a potentially lower response rate."
After Cummings & # 39; call for a hearing on Ross & # 39; When asked to approve the request of the Department of Justice for a citizenship question, a Ministry of Commerce spokesman added by email to the NPR: "After a thorough review of legal, programmatic and political considerations, as well as numerous discussions with the leadership of the Census Bureau and interested stakeholders Minister Ross The restoration of a civic issue at the tenth census of 2020 is necessary to provide complete and accurate data in response to the DOJ's request. "