counts the population, and the administration tried to add a question about citizenship to it
Why It Matters
The goal of the U.S. census is to collect an accurate count of all residents in the U.S. population every 10 years.
In March 2018, the Trump-Pence administration said it would add the following question to the 2020 Census: "Is this person a citizen of the United States?" Experts worried that doing so would scare many immigrants from responding.
The Supreme Court blocked the citizenship question from being added to the 2020 census for now.
How We Got Here & Where We're Headed
- What to Expect Next
The administration could try again to add the citizenship question to the census
Public charge rule goes into effect nationwide
Supreme Court rules that the administration can use its new “public charge” standard while lawsuits against it go forward
Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to block the citizenship question
Supreme Court temporarily permits third-country rule, which denies most asylum claims at the Southern border
Trump administration announced a final "family detention" rule that would allow the administration to detain children indefinitely
Trump administration issues final “public charge” rule designed to stop immigrants from accessing public benefits to which they are legally entitled
Rule issued that makes immigrants ineligible for U.S. asylum if they passed through Mexico — denying asylum to nearly all South American immigrants
Trump announces a policy to severely restrict asylum for immigrants
Rule proposed to keep low-income immigrants from entering or staying in the U.S.
Proposed family detention rule to let U.S. jail immigrant children indefinitely
Jeff Sessions says immigrants fleeing domestic violence don’t qualify for asylum
U.S. sharply increases separation of immigrant families at the border
Administration says it plans to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census
Refugee office head says he interfered with undocumented women’s abortion access
Administration starts detaining pregnant immigrants during legal proceedings
ACLU sues ORR for blocking a detained undocumented woman’s access to abortion
The administration announces it’s ending DACA
“The Trump administration is shamelessly weaponizing the census to wage its war on communities of color, immigrants and the poor.”
A Climate of Fear
The Trump-Pence administration’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies have already created a climate of fear among immigrants. At this point, asking about citizenship status on the census could scare immigrant and mixed-status families from responding. These residents may avoid participating just to stay under the radar.
The effect of not participating in the census would be an undercount of immigrant communities — which could skew their political representation and cause them to lose out on federal funding, including for health care programs. And that could harm immigrant communities for decades to come, experts say.
Background on the 2020 Census
Census data helps the government determine where to disperse federal tax dollars for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Title X, and other vital health care programs.Planned Parenthood Action Blog
Federal law blocks undocumented immigrants from Medicaid and bans them from buying insurance on the ACA Marketplace. Direct barriers like these and fear of deportation for themselves and their loved ones can drive immigrants into the shadows.Planned Parenthood Action
A slew of national and local groups condemned the administration’s attempt to add the citizenship question, noting how the government usually takes years to field test new census questions and evaluate their impact on the public before adding them.Latino Rebels
Yes, U.S. law says that the government can fine people up to $5,000 for refusing to fill out the census or providing false information. That law hasn’t been enforced since 1970, but the Trump administration could always decide to enforce it.Seattle Times
The Commerce Department and Census Bureau faced six lawsuits from states, cities and groups that want the citizenship question off — including a suit that alleged the addition was motivated by discrimination and would result in less political power in places where many immigrants live. A January 2019 ruling that blocked the question said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross exceeded his authority under federal law when he decided to add the question. The ruling indicated suspicion of the administration’s motivations, stating: "The court can… infer from the various ways in which Secretary Ross and his aides acted like people with something to hide that they did have something to hide."USA Today
During a public comment period that ended in early August 2018, many respondents called on the administration to drop its plans to add the question.Reuters
A citizenship question has not been on the U.S. census since 1950.NPR