For the first time in over fifty years, the US Census is planning to ask respondents about their citizenship status. The move comes after the Department of Justice under the Trump administration requested the addition of the citizenship status citing concerns in enforcing the 1965 Voting Rights Act and preventing illegal voting.
The implication here is obvious: the Trump administration has spent the better part of the last two years touting the absurd myth that millions of undocumented immigrants are committing voter fraud and casting illegal ballots in favour of Democratic candidates. Trump favors this fictional narrative over the truth, because it reinforces his flawed belief that the country is more in support of him and his party than it actually is. Now, despite the fact that even Trump’s own commission has found no evidence of such a phenomenon of illegal voting, the Trump administration is directing the US Census to help support Trump’s dangerous, fear-mongering, anti-immigrant theory.
The consequences of this directive are alarming. The US Census — which is constitutionally-mandated to count all US residents regardless of citizenship status — will be forced to wade into the midst of the nativist hysteria that has gripped the country, and in so doing add a question that is sure to depress Census responses from communities boasting large foreign-born populations, such as Asian Americans.