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Q: Should future U.S. Censuses Contain a Citizenship Question?

yes

“Yes, future U.S. Censuses should contain a citizenship question because it would protect political rights of the minorities of America. Although including the census question would deter immigrants from participating in the census, including the citizenship question would be beneficial to allowing minorities to have equal political rights. Protecting the rights of minorities has been a discussion since early American history, and is valued greatly by the American public. According to an article I read from the “New York Times”, “What You Need To Know About The Citizenship Question and the Census”, it suggested that including the citizenship question would protect the voting rights of the minority citizens in America. This would provide for a greater, diverse country, allowing for a better democracy to form among the U.S.. Having the additional question about citizenship on the Census would also benefit minorities by ending dicrimination among politics. The “New York Times” article also suggested that having the citizenship question on the Census would enforce the Voting Rights Act, which stated that discrimination against racial or language minority groups would not be allowed during elections. Enforcing the Voting Rights Act would encourage minorities to vote more and have more of an opinion when it comes to American politics. Adding on the citizenship question would benefit America in creating a better country by allowing minorities to voice their opinion and have equal voting privileges as American citizens. Although adding the citizenship question to the U.S. Census could deter immigrants from participating in the Census, adding on the question would more likely encourage immigrants and minorities to vote. Minorities and immigrants may feel intimidated by this question, but by allowing them to obtain the same voting rights they would have compared to American citizens, allows for encouragement in participating in elections. This would create more diversity and significantly increase democracy in the U.S.. Minorities would feel heard and important to American society by adding on the citizenship question to the U.S. Census.”

Bailey from North Carolina

no

“To many people just looking at the question on a surface level, the question might not seem like a big deal. Why shouldn’t a country know how many citizens reside in their borders? However it is important to understand both historical background and possible consequences of the addition of this question to the census. First of all the, census is done every ten years to determine the allocation of congressional and electors to the states. The revised form of Article 1 Section 2 Clause 3 states, “Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed.” The whole number of persons in each state include citizens and noncitizens. This goes to the core of the mission of the census, To get an accurate measurement of those living within the United States. Adding a citizenship question will without a doubt lead to a error in measurement of the total persons in a state. Some states benefit through gaining a seat or two while some states lose influence. In that nature, the census will always face fierce attempts to politicise it and benefit a certain side. Mounting evidence shows that Thomas Hofeller, the architect of the citizenship question, proposed the question to benefit the white rural communities as this question would lead to an underestimate of more diverse urban communities. by that nature, there is discrimination based on race which is unconstitutional based on the 14th amendment. The question at hand is not whether a country has a right to know how many citizens and noncitizens reside in its borders. The true question is whether the census can Constitutionally contain this question. Based on historical analysis, political and racial origination of the question, and negative effects, it is clear that the census should not be the platform for this question.”

Kyle from Indiana

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“Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.”

– President John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961