DOJ wants citizenship question added to U.S. Census

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The question has not been included in any recent surveys so the issue's now become a hot political issue. (KFSN)

The question has not been included in any recent surveys so the issue's now become a hot political issue.

U.S. Census surveys are held every 10 years to try to get an accurate count of our residents. But some say a question about citizenship or legal status would lower participation in the census.

Samuel Molina is the State Director for Mi Familia Vota. He believes many undocumented immigrants would choose not to identify themselves on a survey.

"Unfortunately under this administration, there's been a lot of anti-immigrant rhetoric and it may be possible they may want to keep immigrants from being counted," Molina said.

Fresno State Political Science Professor Tom Holyoke understands why some people would choose not fill out the census if it contained a question about immigration.

"Anybody who feels that they are at potential risk of deportation or having other families deported, the last thing they're going to want to do is provide their information to the federal government," Holyoke said.

But under-reporting of a population base could lead to under-funding of services.

"A lot of the money that comes from the federal government is dependent on the census right so if we don't have a complete count of California or other of the states then we're not going to get the aggregate funding for healthcare or towards education," Molina said.

The stakes are high in this political battle, not just in terms of federal funding.

The Justice Department says the question is needed "in order for the department to enforce the voting rights act's protections against racial discrimination in voting."

Molina said, "We're hoping the census department does all it can to fight off that request."

U.S. Census surveys don't go out until April of 2020 but a decision over whether immigration status is part of the survey is expected by March.

Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa supports the immigration census question while Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein is among those opposed, during the last U.S Census in 2010.

We were reminding people they should not be asked about citizenship or their social security numbers.
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politicscensusdepartment of justice
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