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Policy Update | NAPABA Opposes the Addition of a Citizenship Question on the 2020 Census

Thursday, August 23, 2018  
Posted by: Brett Schuster
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Aug. 23, 2018

                                         

NAPABA Opposes the Addition of a Citizenship Question on the 2020 Census

On Aug. 7, 2018, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) submitted a public comment to the United States Census Bureau to oppose the proposal to ask respondents about their citizenship status on the 2020 Census form and to recommend the inclusion of comprehensive language services assistance for individuals with limited English proficiency. NAPABA’s comment raised the detrimental impact the proposed citizenship question will have on Asian Pacific American and immigrant communities, including reductions in legal aid funding.

“The United States Constitution calls for the federal government to conduct an ‘actual enumeration’ of every person residing in the country, not just citizens, and the inclusion of a citizenship question will adversely affect the Census Bureau’s ability to collect accurate and reliable information…The addition of a citizenship question will likely lead to a negative impact on Asian Pacific Americans and other minority communities,” said NAPABA in its comment.

NAPABA President Pankit J. Doshi added, “It is extremely important that the Census collects reliable and accurate information. Census data is used to apportion seats in Congress and state legislatures and to determine federal funding and services. The inclusion of the citizenship question would lower the response rate from immigrant communities. They would not be counted, which would lead to a decline in political representation and funding for community services, such as legal aid, in their regions.”

NAPABA is grateful to our affiliated Asian Pacific American bar associations — including the Asian American Bar Association of New York and the Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association — and the individuals who also submitted comments to the United States Census Bureau. NAPABA will continue to work with our national Asian Pacific American and civil rights partners to ensure our Asian Pacific American and immigrant communities are properly accounted for in the 2020 Census.

For more information, please contact Navdeep Singh, NAPABA policy director, at 202-775-9555 or nsingh@napaba.org.