Census Citizenship Question
Cummings Is Wrong To Oppose Census Citizenship Question
Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings opposes a proposed 2020 census question which would ask: “is the person a citizen?”
Cummings, along with many other fellow Democrats, contends that the question will cause a decrease in census participation.
While that may indeed be true, the question as worded is not to blame. The question does not mention type of non-citizen status.
A census, every ten years, is constitutionally-mandated. The stated purpose is to determine the number of residents so that Congressional boundaries can be drawn to contain “equal” numbers.
The census is now used for other reasons as well, including pro-rata distribution of federal funds. And the Department of Justice wants the question to aid in the enforcement of the Voting Rights Act.
The inclusion of a citizenship question makes sense for another reason, too. It’s common sense to recognize that citizens are likely to feel a stronger allegiance to the nation than those who are not. That is a fact that should, potentially, have a bearing on the country’s future immigration policies.
As for the concern about the level of census participants, Federal law forbids the answers from being shared with law enforcement or immigration agencies.
Accordingly, the wise course is to conduct publicity campaigns about the purposes of census questions and the protection provided to respondents.
That is certainly better than Cummings’ efforts to deprive the government of valuable information about America’s populace.
Cummings is simply engaging in demagoguery when he claims, as he did last month, that the Administration is “rushing ahead with a politically-motivated decision that will jeopardize the full, fair and accurate count our Constitution demands.”