Inclusion of citizenship question in census unjustly targets immigrants, will result in skewed data

The United States Department of Justice’s request to add a question concerning citizenship to the U.S. census was approved on Monday March 26, according to CNN. 

This will be implemented in 2020 and is another demonstration of President Donald Trump and his anti-immigrant policy and the prejudice that immigrants continue to face. Such an initiative is utilizing the census, which is necessary to gain information about individuals residing in the U.S., to discriminate against illegal immigrants.

This type of exploitation of information is nothing new. For example, “during World War I, the Census Bureau shared with the military the names of men who were of draft age … and apologized for sharing data on Japanese-Americans living on the West Coast to help the military relocate them to internment camps after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941,” according to The New York Times.

The misuse of census data to discriminate against certain groups of people is absolutely unacceptable and will cause individuals to stop responding to the census.

One example of this iss Carmen Queveda, a native Guatemalan, who said she wouldn’t fill out a census because she is not in the U.S. legally, according to The New York Times. “Obviously, I am afraid. I have a son” she said. 

Individuals residing in the U.S. must feel comfortable answering the census so it can represent the whole population.

“An undercount of the population would have far-reaching implications. It would skew the data that are used to determine how many congressional representatives each state gets and their representation in state legislatures and local government bodies,” The New York Times reports.

Adding this question not only makes illegal immigrants feel unwelcomed in the nation, but further exemplifies the prejudice exhibited by Trump.

Thankfully, many states have already pushed back against the U.S. Department of Justice’s decision and 12 are threatening to sue, according to The New York Times. Many argued that it would cause for a change in the individuals who participate and also comes in direct conflict with the constitution.

One individual who is fighting against this action is Attorney General Maura Healey from Massachusetts, who said, “This is a blatant and illegal attempt by the Trump administration” and will “result in an undercount of the population and threaten federal funding for our state and cities,” according to The New York Times.

It is vital to continue supporting states and individuals who are speaking out against this change to the census and support immigrants.