By Makayla Grijalva
WASHINGTON — Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus announced Wednesday their disapproval of the new 2020 Census question pertaining to citizenship.
“This question, especially coming from this administration, which has been so hostile to immigrants and also in many ways to the Latino community, is meant as an act of political intimidation,” Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), first vice chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said in at a news conference Wednesday.
The caucus believes the question will lead to an undercount of immigrant communities and misrepresent the true population of the United States.
The census, which is conducted every 10 years to count the U.S. population, is used to allot federal funding to the states and determine representation in Congress. An undercount of people residing in the country could skew both of these counts, especially in jurisdictions with large numbers of immigrants — both legal and undocumented.
“Anybody who’s seen the census form knows that oftentimes people think it’s an intrusive list of questions,” Castro said. “This will make it much less likely that we will get full and complete answers from so many people.”
But the attorneys general from Colorado, Oklahoma and Louisiana have expressed support for the addition of a citizenship question in the 2020 Census.
“We need the most complete information possible to assure fair political representation of the entire state,” Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman said in statement released Monday.
Coffman argues that the “strong privacy protections” in place when the information is collected “should help overcome any reluctance to participate.”
Secretary of Commerce Wilber Ross announced the inclusion of the question in late March, saying it will help the census to comply with the Voting Rights of 1965.
A question about citizenship status has not been included in the U.S. Census since 1950.
A coalition of over a dozen states, led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, officially announced last week a lawsuit aiming to combat the question. The state of California, the NAACP and a group led by former U.S. attorney general Eric Holder Jr. also have announced similar lawsuits regarding the question.