New Census may not ask about citizenship status

Apparent blow to Trump administration (Part 2)

Lisa Fitch OW Contributor | 7/12/2019, midnight

There remain far too many questions regarding the 2020 Census, specifically as it relates to the welfare of African-Americans and other persons of color. That’s the belief of Bruce Mirken, spokesman for the Greenlining Institute which serves as multi-ethnic research and advocacy organization.

Because the Trump Administration continues to press for the question, “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” Mirken couldn’t help but agree with the recent United States Supreme Court decision essentially chastising Trump for proposing the question.

“Basically what the court did, is tell the Department of Commerce that ‘you didn’t do your homework right, you’ve got to re-do this.’” Mirken said. “But they didn’t slam the door entirely, which we wish they had done.”

Laura E. Gomez, J.D., Ph.D., professor of law at UCLA, saw the ruling as good news, but hesitated to call it a victory.

“It’s complicated,” she said. “There are seven lawsuits against the government about the citizenship question. They were all waiting for this ruling.”

Surprisingly, Chief Justice Roberts, a known conservative, wrote the ruling’s opinion, saying the administration’s explanation for adding the question was insufficient.

“That’s what the court is supposed to do,” Gomez said. “The system is supposed to work with the lower courts and the evidence. They are the ones who are to decide the case.”

So what’s next? Will the president get his way and delay the census until a decision is made?

“My prediction would be that the citizenship question will not appear on the 2020 census,” Gomez said.

“Trump said he would delay the census, but I think that’s a lot of bluster,” she added. “We get a lot of data about the economy from the census. There are a lot of people, even in the Republican party, who will say it has to be done.”

The response was the same from a professor at L.A.’s big campus across town.

“Immigrants, their children and people of color might be less likely to answer a question that could potentially put themselves or their families at risk, given our current political context that is extremely hostile to both undocumented and legal immigrants,” Jody AgiusVallejo, USC associate professor of sociology and American studies and ethnicity wrote in a statement.

“An accurate count is critical for the social and economic stability of our communities, regions, and states, as census data is used to determine how federal and state funds are distributed to communities, including schools and programs that serve low-income communities,” she added.

“A fair and accurate 2020 census count is thus critical to our present and future.”

States like California, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and Texas can lose government resources and political clout if the count is inaccurate.

“Skewed census numbers distort federal funding formulas,” The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities wrote in a recent blog. “For example, an eight percent undercount could cost Texas alone $200 million a year for Medicaid – or more.”

As the nation prepares to be counted in the decennial census, there is one silver lining: thousands of jobs will be available throughout the country, although they are short term.