Department of Homeland Security to reportedly agree to share citizenship information with the US Census Bureau

According to CBS, the Department of Homeland Security is agreeing to share citizenship information with the US Census Bureau as a part of President Trump’s efforts to assist the bureau with determining the number of citizens, non-citizens, and illegal immigrants present in the United States before the 2020 Census. Information to be shared with the bureau include personally identifiable information, alien identification number, country of birth, and date of birth and naturalization. The Census Bureau also ensured that this information is completely private and safe, pointing to federal law that prohibits the Census Bureau from sharing identifiable data. “Your answers can only be used to produce statistics — they cannot be used against you in any way.” ~

These actions come in response to a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that blocked the Trump administration’s plan to include a citizenship status question on the 2020 census. Chief Justice John Roberts gave a reasoning for the block of the citizenship question on the 2020 census, saying that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, the man who made the decision to add a citizenship question, did not clearly explain his reasoning for doing so. According to the Chief Justice, the lack of explanation raises questions of the legality of such an action. ~ 

Opponents of the citizenship question say that asking citizens of their citizenship status may lead to lower official population numbers due to immigrants who are not legal citizens opting not to respond. According to Fox News, these lower population numbers could lead to insufficient federal funding and fewer congressional seats in districts with high immigrant populations, usually those who tend to lean more left than right in political voting. According to experts at the Census Bureau, an estimated undercount of 6.5 million people could occur if the citizenship question were to be included in the upcoming census. But supporters of the question argue that a question of citizenship status should be a mandatory question on the census because it ensures enforcement of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act which speaks about voting practices that discriminate based on race. ~

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