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Maloney: Justice Department Request for Inclusion of Citizenship Question in 2020 Census Threatens Accuracy of the Count of Our Nation

House Census Caucus Co-Chair to Lead Effort Urging Sec. Ross to Reject Request

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Co-Chair of the House Census Caucus and sponsor of the 2020 Census Investment Act, released the following statement in response to the Department of Justice’s request that a question regarding citizenship status be added to the 2020 Decennial Census.

“Our democracy depends on a fair, equitable, and complete count of the nation yet, the Department of Justice’s request to add a question regarding citizenship status to the 2020 decennial census seriously threatens its accuracy. Research from the Census Bureau already shows that survey respondents and focus group participants are expressing an ‘unprecedented’ level of concern regarding the confidentially of the data they provide to the Bureau and whether that data will be improperly shared with other government agencies, especially immigration officials. This often leads to respondents explicitly falsifying data or leaving household members off survey rosters for fear of incrimination. I fear that including a citizenship question will only serve to grow these fears and, in turn, severely undermine accuracy and initial response levels. This will increase the cost of the census by hundreds of millions of dollars in non-response follow-up, the most expensive component of the decennial census operation.

“This is why I am asking my colleagues to join me in a letter to Secretary Ross urging him to reject the Justice Department’s request. The census is too important a process and tool to be politicized.”