Make the Road New York Opposes the Census Citizenship Question, Reported by City & State NY

Posted on April 12, 2018

How the 2020 census citizenship question will affect New York’s headcount

Originally Posted in City & State NY on April 11, 2018
Written by David Colon

With the federal government gearing up for the 2020 census, the decennial count of the country’s population has recently become controversial due to the addition of a question asking if the respondent is “a citizen of the United States.” The question, not seen since the 1950 census, was added to the survey by the U.S. Commerce Department – ostensibly at the request of the U.S. Justice Department in order to monitor potential violations of voting law.

“The census in a diverse city like New York will always face challenges,” said Peter Lobo, the deputy chief demographer at the New York City Department of City Planning. “There are some people who don’t want to be counted, there are others who are afraid of the government. We face these issues with every census.”

Immigrant advocates are already seeing trepidation from those 1 million residents. “Mixed-status families don’t know how they should answer these surveys,” said Yatziri Tovar, a spokeswoman for Make the Road New York, an immigrant advocacy, and services organization.

City officials say they’re determined to facilitate an accurate count in 2020. “The city’s signed on to (state) Attorney General (Eric) Schneiderman’s lawsuit (to remove the citizenship question), and will be doing an intensive outreach out of City Hall that will try to reach out to respective leaders in communities to ensure that people are well aware of their rights and protections and the importance of everybody participating in the census,” city planning spokeswoman Rachaele Raynoff told City & State.

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