Census Citizenship Question Could Hurt Red States

 Iowa Police Chief: Citizenship Question “an Example of Washington, D.C.’s Disconnect”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — New census data reveals the importance of immigrants to population growth in places small and large, rural and urban — a finding with major implications as the Supreme Court takes up a possible citizenship question on the 2020 census.

The court will hear oral arguments Tuesday on the Trump administration’s decision to include a citizenship question next year.

Research indicates that a citizenship question would make people less likely to respond to the census, including immigrant families who may be reluctant to share their citizenship status with the federal government. At risk are not just large cities but also rural areas where immigration has bolstered economic growth and mitigated population decline.

“The City of Storm Lake is in dire need of an accurate census count to ensure appropriate funding and service levels for our richly diverse community,” said Mark Prosser, Public Safety Director and Chief of Police in Storm Lake, Iowa. “The addition of a citizenship-related question to the census will negatively impact participation by our diverse populations locally and nationally, and greatly reduce the accuracy of the census count, which is so very important.

“This unnecessary question is an example of Washington, D.C.’s disconnect with local government, the relationships we’re working to build with our diverse populations, and the benefits they provide.”

Of the 10 states with the greatest percentage increases in immigrant population from 2010 to 2016, eight voted for Trump in the 2016 election — so a citizenship question could put millions of Americans who voted for President Trump at a disadvantage.

“If the Trump administration gets its way on the census citizenship question, the resulting undercount will hurt the very states and communities that helped elect the president,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, who wrote an op-ed about the potential citizenship question in August. “Rather than provide more accurate data on citizenship, such a question will leave rural communities underrepresented and red states underfunded.

“A census that fails to capture rural and conservative America’s growing immigrant population is a disservice to these communities and a threat to their prosperity.”

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