On Monday evening, at 9:29 p.m., the Commerce Division introduced that it’s going to embrace a citizenship query within the 2020 Census. Secretary Ross determined citizenship query would outweigh what he referred to as the “restricted potential hostile impacts.” That is the incorrect choice and is for certain to put the groundwork for an inaccurate census depend. The structure requires the census to depend everyone within the nation, not simply residents. There is just one alternative to conduct the decennial census. Its accuracy shouldn’t be put in danger with an untested, politically motivated query, and I can’t sit quietly watching it occur.
Secretary Ross is aware of the results of his choice can be a flawed 2020 Census. In the end, his choice will result in a flawed apportionment of Representatives, a costlier inhabitants depend (the 2010 Census price nearly $13 billion), diminished system funding to states and localities, and poor planning selections made by authorities, business, and nonprofit organizations for a decade.
Final week, Secretary Ross testified earlier than me and my colleagues on the Home Appropriations Committee. I requested Secretary Ross if inclusion of a citizenship query will enhance the accuracy of the 2020 Census and he replied that it was one thing they had been grappling with. I identified that 4 former census administrators expressed concern over inclusion of a citizenship query within the 2020 Census. Secretary Ross acknowledged that he had heard their views and from different former census administrators who all thought it might have horrible penalties. He even dismissed the opposition of profession officers on the Census Bureau. In the end, my issues, in addition to the issues of the consultants, fell on deaf ears.
This silly choice will produce long-lasting unfavorable results. Immigrant communities, terrified of deportation due to the administration’s rhetoric, can be much less prone to reply out of concern their data will not be confidential. If our knowledge is skewed, then our approaches to public well being, infrastructure and different nationwide points can be defective. An undercount will imply our neediest communities might not obtain a lot wanted care. College students who depend on the Nationwide Faculty Lunch Program might go with out lunch, affecting their well being and tutorial objectives. In the long run, a citizenship query is not going to produce an correct census. It can create an inaccurate depend, instill concern in our communities, and undermine our potential to assist folks.
This battle is not over, and I intend to discover all obtainable avenues, together with via the Home Appropriations Committee, in direction of stopping the inclusion of the citizenship query. We do not want a citizenship query within the 2020 Census; what we’d like is an correct census depend.
Grace Meng is a Democratic member of Congress representing New York’s sixth district in Queens.