Courtesy of U.S. Census Bureau
Courtesy of U.S. Census Bureau

The U.S. Department of Commerce is gearing up for the Constitution mandated job of counting every person living in the U.S.

The upcoming decennial census count scheduled for 2020 will consist of 10 questions. That is, unless President Trump is successful in shunning the Supreme Court’s recent decision to drop the issue while leaving the door open for the Commerce secretary to come back and justify adding a question about citizenship.

Civil rights organizations praised the court’s ruling allowing the department to proceed with the printing of the census form without the citizenship question as a victory over President Trump’s move to add an 11th question about citizenship that many groups predict will ultimately lead to a significant census undercount. Minorities, low-income people and immigrants are among those who may feel specifically targeted and, thus, avoid being counted for fear of reprisals.

Despite the court’s decision and that of the Justice Department to give up the fight to push for a citizenship question, fears and apprehensions already exist, particularly among immigrants. Trump is not giving up, either, recently stating, “They’re spending $15 to $20 billion on a census. They’re asking everything, except, ‘Are you a citizen of the United States?’ How ridiculous is that? So, we are moving forward; we have a couple of avenues.”

A census undercount is a real and legitimate concern for those who recognize its importance in establishing voting districts and the allocation of federal funds. Dollars follow the people, and wherever the people are, based upon the census count, is where and to whom programs supported by federal and state dollars will flow.

The Census Bureau recognized early on that 2020 could result in another significant undercount and it is trying to move past the controversies to prepare for a successful count. We will be among those to educate and inform our readers about what to expect this year, including the fact that unless a printed form is specifically requested, this year will mark the first that the census will be online.

Don’t allow President Trump to bully you into avoiding being counted, particularly African Americans who have been discounted and undercounted for far too long.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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