The U.S. Supreme Court is deciding whether the government can ask people if they are U.S. citizens in next year’s census.
Reintroducing a question used in past surveys has pitted the Trump administration against civil rights groups.
They claim the information will target immigrants, as CGTN’s Owen Fairclough reports.
Protesters outside the U.S. Supreme Court as it wrestles with a critical question: can the U.S. government include a question about respondents’ citizenship in next year’s census?
They say it’ll deter people from predominantly Hispanic countries who aren’t U.S. citizens from taking part.
Maritza Solano, Director of Education at immigrant advocacy group CASA, said: “We already know that after the Trump administration came in there was fear among people that if they shared their status and made themselves counted they would be persecuted.”
The Trump administration claims the opposite—that it wants the information to enforce voting laws aimed at preventing discrimination.
But the Census Bureau says it can do that by including administrative data and has concluded that the citizenship question could will lead to an undercount by millions.
The issue is further complicated because the bureau’s annual American Community Survey – sampling only around 3.5 million households rather than a full count – already contains a citizenship question.
The once every 10 years census is critical for the U.S. government. It’s used to determine some 800 billion dollars of federal spending and political representation in Congress.
And those in favor of a citizenship question say the accuracy of the information is also critical.
“We’re engaged in a very vigorous debate in this country about our immigration policy,” said Hans von Spakovsky, Senior Legal Fellow at the The Heritage Foundation.
The Supreme Court – whose justices include two Trump appointees – is expected to issue its ruling by the end of June.