SIREN Denounces Addition of Citizenship Question to 2020 Census

Yesterday, Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross included a question regarding citizenship status in the list of questions submitted to Congress for the 2020 Census. Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network (SIREN), an immigrant and refugee rights organizations serving Northern and Central California, denounces the inclusion of the question on citizenship status which will have far-reaching consequences on immigrant communities and communities of color.

The decision by the Commerce Department dangerous and blatantly anti-immigrant and will inevitably cause participation in the upcoming Census to plummet due to immigrant community members failing to complete the form out of fear.

“This question is unnecessarily intrusive and will raise concerns in all households - native- and foreign born, citizen and non-citizen about the confidentiality of their personal information linked to citizenship status and how government authorities may use that information. The consequences of the resulting undercount of immigrant communities are far-reaching impact. Census data is used to determine how basic resources, services, and representation are provided to already marginalized communities,” said SIREN’s Executive Director, Maricela Gutiérrez.

SIREN commends the bold leadership of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra for suing the Trump Administration for adding this question.

“Once again California is leading the way against bigotry and hate being spewed by this Administration,” said Gutierrez. “I applaud the Attorney General for his leadership. This fight is far from over.”

Congress will have the final approval of the 2020 Census form, and will vote this spring on the finalized form.