A seemingly old media dilemma forced the Trump administration to remove a citizenship question from being printed on the upcoming U.S. Census form. A deadline for the company tasked with printing 1 billion Census forms in time for the fall was this week.
The announcement elicited a sigh of relief from officials in Alameda County who had voiced fear for more than a year that the presence of a citizenship question on the Census would lead to a significant undercount of the county’s large immigrant population and a severe reduction of federal funding.
Federal funding to local counties and cities is predicated on the Census, therefore, an inaccurate count of the population could have resulted in the loss of more than $2 billion in revenue over the next decade. Alameda County officials based the estimate on the county’s roughly 247,000 immigrant population accounting for $10,000 in federal funding to the county.
Casey Farmer, the executive director of Alameda County Complete Count Committee for Census 2020, welcomed Tuesday afternoon’s surprise announcement, but added, the Trump administration’s move to include the citizenship has already provoked fear in the immigrant communities and aimed to suppress the Census count. Much work remains for the group to alleviate fears of some who will remain wary of participating in the decennial Census count, Farmer said.
“It’s a hard sell to ask people to check a box that says you’re not a citizen,” said Farmer, but the group will continue public outreach, while ensuring the county’s immigrant population that the private information they provide to the Census is not accessible to other government agencies.
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, 5-4, saying there appeared to be no rationale offered by the Trump administration for inclusion of the citizenship question, therefore, temporarily blocking it from inclusion in the Census.