Census experts argue against inclusion of citizenship question

Members of the Census Scientific Advisory Committee said in a statement that the decision to include a question about citizenship was based on “flawed logic,” could threaten the accuracy and confidentiality of the head count and likely would make it more expensive to conduct.

The committee also said it worried about the “implications for attitudes about the Census Bureau,” an allusion to fears that the latest move jeopardized the bureau’s nonpartisan reputation.

The Census Project reports that all living former Census Bureau directors objected to adding a citizenship question. In a recent letter, six former directors — who served under both Republican and Democratic presidents — called adding the question “highly risky.”

Four of these same former Census directors also wrote to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 that asking about citizenship status in the decennial census “would likely exacerbate privacy concerns and lead to inaccurate responses from non-citizens worried about a government record of their immigration status.

The American Statistical Association wrote to Ross in January to “strongly caution” against adding the question.

Trump-Pence reelection campaign is pushing for the addition of question on the 2020 Census that would ask respondents whether or not they are U.S. citizens.

“The President wants the 2020 United States Census to ask people whether or not they are citizens,” states the new fundraising email. “In another era, this would be COMMON SENSE.”

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