Trump administration seeks to sabotage the census | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Trump administration seeks to sabotage the census

Posted By on Tue, Jan 2, 2018 at 12:06 PM

This bears watching — good report from ProPublica, which obtained a Department of Justice letter arguing for an alteration to the census:
The Justice Department is pushing for a question on citizenship to be added to the 2020 census, a move that observers say could depress participation by immigrants who fear that the government could use the information against them. That, in turn, could have potentially large ripple effects for everything the once-a-decade census determines — from how congressional seats are distributed around the country to where hundreds of billions of federal dollars are spent.
The Trump administration claims, dubiously, that it wants the data to better enforce civil rights laws. In practice, adding a citizenship question — particularly given what the current president of the United States has had to say about undocumented people living in this country — would almost surely have a chilling effect on the response rate, badly skewing the results.

More from ProPublica:

Observers said they feared adding a citizenship question would not only lower response rates, but also make the census more expensive and throw a wrench into the system with just two years to go before the 2020 count. Questions are usually carefully field-tested, a process that can take years.

“This is a recipe for sabotaging the census,” said Arturo Vargas, a member of the National Advisory Committee of the Census and the executive director of NALEO Educational Fund, a Latino advocacy group. “When you start adding last-minute questions that are not tested — how will the public understand the question? How much will it suppress response rates?”

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