Citizenship in 2020 Census

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Many in-land cities in Canada (including Toronto, London, Vancouver, and Ottawa) have adopted Sanctuary City or “Access without Fear” policies. “Access without Fear” policy ensures that access to municipal services is open to all, enabling immigrants to meet basic needs without fear of deportation or detention. The policy has occasionally been criticized for pushing vulnerable peoples further underground, instead of directing resources towards the acquisition of full legal status for security and welfare.

In the United States, the Supreme Court will decide whether the national 2020 census will include a question about citizenship. The U.S. National Census has not included a question about citizenship for almost 70 years. More than two dozen states and cities have filed lawsuits to prompt the Trump government to discard this question. The Supreme Court has agreed to a speedy review of a lower court block on this ruling; arguments will be heard in April, and a decision is expected in late June.

U.S. District Judge Furman ruled against the Trump administration’s decision to include a citizenship question in the 2020 census. The Trump administration maintained that the citizenship question was being added to enforce Voting Rights Act provisions, which protect minorities against racial and linguistic discrimination. However, Judge Furman deemed the proposition a “classic, clear cut Administrative Procedure Act violation.” The American Civil Liberties Union have called Furman’s ruling “a forceful rebuke of the Trump administration’s attempt to weaponize the census.”

This 2020 Census could affect the allocation of seats in the House of Representatives, and the distribution of 650 billion federal dollars. Likewise, it puts millions of undocumented citizens at risk by dissuading them from participating in the census, undermining the accuracy of statistics. Since undocumented migrants tend to live in disproportionately Democratic-voting areas, statistical shifts have the potential to redirect political power and federal spending towards Republican regions.

This post was written by a CCLA-PBSC Rights Watch student. Views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCLA or PBSC.