Only in America Is a Citizenship Question on the Census Controversial
The 2020 Census is set to be conducted this year with no citizenship question to be found. Despite that, the Census will be offering language assistance in fifty-eight foreign languages, and people can respond to the questionnaire in thirteen different language. Priorities.
According to a study from the Center for Immigration Studies, illegal immigration will cause three House to be taken from Red States as a result of the 2020 Census’ lack of citizenship question (though Red States will still be net beneficiaries of seat changes overall due to citizens fleeing certain Blue States, such as California). Contrary to baseless claims from liberal critics that a citizenship question would deter Hispanics citizens from responding to the Census, a Census test proved that wouldn’t have happened with inclusion of such a question.
And here’s the real kicker – a citizenship question is considered common sense everywhere except among American Democrats. As the Heritage Foundation notes: even the United Nations recommends that its member countries ask a citizenship question on their census surveys, and countries ranging from Australia to Germany to Indonesia all ask this question. Only in the U.S. is this considered at all controversial — and it shouldn’t be.
President Thomas Jefferson first proposed a citizenship question in 1800. It was added to the census in 1820 with a question that asked for the number of “foreigners not naturalized” in the household. Prior decennial census surveys “consistently asked citizenship questions up until 1950.”
When the Census was switched to including both a short-form and long-form survey in 1970, the citizenship question was part of the long form survey (and was included up until the 2000 census). The long form was discontinued after the 2000 census and replaced with the American Community Survey, hence the abolition of the citizenship question. (However, as NPR correctly notes, it’s been roughly seventy years since all U.S. households were asked a citizenship question, as some “recent” iterations only asked for responses from certain household types). A history of the framing of the question, and who it applied to, can be viewed below:
So what changed recently to make a citizenship question so controversial? Democrats realizing that excluding it works to their advantage.