The United States Census Bureau announced in March they will include a question about citizenship on the 2020 census.
The bureau says an accurate count of citizens would help protect minority rights under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, according to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
Critics of the citizenship question argue it will likely lead to less participation by immigrants both legal and undocumented.
The census determines how many representatives states acquire in both state legislatures and Congress. It also determines the number of votes a state receives in the electoral college and determines federal funding to the states.
In a memo by the Commerce Department, it portrayed the move as a good way to enforce Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. That portion of the law protects minority population voting rights. Asking people to respond to the citizenship question would help gather currently unavailable data about the population and who are eligible to vote.
“The Department of Commerce is not able to determine definitively how the inclusion of a citizenship question on the decennial census will impact responsiveness,” Ross wrote in his memo. “However, even if there is some impact on responses, the value of more complete and accurate data derived from surveying the entire population outweighs such concerns.”
According to the Washington Post, the states of California and New York have sued the Donald Trump administration in hopes to block the question from appearing on the census.
House minority leader Nancy Pelosi responded to the potential question in a statement:
“This detrimental change will inject fear and distrust into vulnerable communities, and cause traditionally undercounted communities to be even further under-represented, financially excluded and left behind,” Pelosi said.
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