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Citizenship Question on 2020 Census Is Trump's Latest Declaration of Domestic War on Immigrants

March 28, 2018 in Blogs

By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

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“A naked attempt to politicize the census, with the goal of suppressing minority participation.”

The Trump administration’s decision to add a controversial question on citizenship status to the 2020 Census questionnaire is its latest attack on immigrant communities—a far-reaching power grab disguised as a technicality.

Legal advocates for Latinos and communities of color are seeing it as a declaration of domestic political war.

“MALDEF calls for the immediate resignation of [Commerce Secretary] Wilbur Ross,” said Thomas A. Saenz, Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund president and general counsel. “His acquiescence in this political maneuver demonstrates his thorough incompetence to serve as Commerce Secretary. His apparent lack of even basic integrity has created a constitutional violation of unprecedented potential impact.”

“President Trump’s latest attempt to suppress the political influence of people of color under the guise of voter protection is beyond the pale,” said Cristóbal J. Alex, president of Latino Victory Project. “The inclusion of a citizenship question in the census is meant to instill fear and discourage undocumented taxpayers and mixed-status families from participating, ensuring that these communities receive fewer resources and that congressional districts are redrawn in favor of Republicans.”

“Secretary Ross is wrong,” said Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League. “If this were any other administration, the inclusion of a citizenship status question would likely seem benign. However, the Trump administration has repeatedly proposed xenophobic and racist policies—and its handling of the Census appears to be no different. It is intentionally politicizing the decennial Census by using it as a tool to intimidate undocumented immigrants from completing the questionnaire, siphon government resources from communities of color, and undermine the assurance of congressional representation.”

These statements from leading civil rights advocates are the tip of a larger storm surrounding the 2020 Census, the next once-a-decade detailed survey of …read more


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