The U.S. Senate blocked a controversial amendment today that would have required the Census Bureau to belatedly add a citizenship question to the 2010 Census questionnaire.
In voting for cloture on the Commerce Justice and Science (CJS) FY10 Appropriations bill, a majority of senators effectively stopped the amendment from coming up for a vote. If approved, the amendment would have asked respondents to identify if they are a U.S. citizen and would have required the reprinting of Census questionnaires at an estimated cost of $1 billion.
The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR) welcomed the decision. “The civil rights community won an important battle today in the fight for a fair and accurate 2010 census that counts every person in the United States as required by the U.S. Constitution,” said LCCR President and CEO Wade Henderson.
LCCR had argued that the amendment put forward by Senators David Vitter, R. La., and Robert Bennett, R. Utah, was contrary to the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which clearly states that the apportionment of members of the House of Representatives is based on a full count of persons in each state.
The amendment also threatened to severely disrupt the 2010 Census. LCCR argued that hastily considered changes such as those proposed by Sens. Vitter and Bennett would delay the census and jeopardize the timing of redistricting and reapportionment, as well as negatively affect any public and private project that depends upon an accurate count of the U.S. population.
The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund is leading a multi-city campaign to ensure a full count of hard-to-reach populations in the United States. Learn more at www.civilrights.org/census/.