Cummings calls for hearings on citizenship census question

Census Bureau Director Robert Groves announces results for the 2010 U.S. Census at the National Press Club Tuesday Dec. 21 2010 in Washington

"Between 1820 and 1950, nearly every decennial census asked a question on citizenship in some form", the statement read.

The Commerce Department announced the question would be added to the 2020 Census on Monday night, saying it will help enforce the Voting Rights Act. That question is now included on the American Community Survey, which offers a more detailed read on the state of the USA population and replaced a different long-form questionnaire in the 2010 census.

"The addition of a citizenship question to the census questionnaire is a direct attack on our representative democracy", Holder said in a statement.

The census informs decisions on things like federal funding and Congressional districts.

The Trump administration has provoked threats of lawsuits and a backlash from senior Democrats after deciding to reinstate a controversial question about citizenship status in the next United States census. The Census Bureau says that the 2010 census drew a massive response, with about 74 percent of the households mailing in forms and the remaining households counted by workers in neighborhoods.

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Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the data could help identify potential voting rights violations by providing more accurate information than now available about the proportion of a congressional district's population that is actually eligible to vote by virtue of holding citizenship. Former Attorney General Eric Holder, who now leads the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, said the organization will also sue to stop it. Researchers said respondents had specific fears about sharing confidential information with researchers, and attributed it to moves from the Trump administration to target immigrants and people of color such as the Muslim travel ban, the dismantling of DACA, and the empowerment of ICE agents.

Commerce Department Secretary Wilbur Ross made the final decision to add the question. The questions in the census are generally benign, he said, but "asking about citizenship status, especially given the rhetoric about immigrants coming out of Washington, is something that in my view will spook people". Non-citizens do not have the right to vote in federal and state elections. We have no idea how the untested insertion of a citizenship question will affect public cooperation. They all told me if Census added question about U.S. citizenship none of them would respond to it. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, praised Ross for announcing the decision to include a citizenship question, calling it a "reasonable, common sense addition to the census".

Several Republican senators voiced support for including the question, having previously sent a letter to the Department of Commerce urging the question be reinstated.

The U.S Census Bureau now counts the total number of people in the country every 10 years, not the citizens.

"Looking at the Census Bureau's monthly Current Population Surveys shows no drop in the number of people identified as foreign-born between January 2014 and January of 2018", said Steven Camarota, research director at the Center for Immigration Studies.

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