Adding A New Citizenship Question to the 2020 Census
Both Republican and Democratic administrations, as well as Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, 1 have confirmed unequivocally that the Constitution requires a count of all persons living in the United States, regardless of citizenship or legal status, for the purpose of apportioning seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Nonetheless, lawmakers over the years have sought to add questions on citizenship and legal status to the decennial census.
Most recently, the Department of Justice (DOJ) intervened by sending a letter to the Census Bureau, requesting a new citizenship question on the 2020 Census.2 Proponents of adding these questions offer several reasons to justify collection of these data from all households, none of which relate to the core purpose of conducting a census of all persons residing in the country. On March 26, Secretary Ross announced his decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.