UPDATED 6:39 AM PST – Tuesday, October 15, 2019
The Trump administration is directing the U.S. Census Bureau to request states hand over citizenship statistics. This comes after the Supreme Court blocked the White House from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
An Associated Press report this week detailed the two methods being used to gather the data without specifically asking the question. One way is having states ask residents to provide information from their driver’s license. Another is to submit information on individuals enrolled in government-funded public programs.
The Census Bureau reiterated the information they receive is stripped of personal identities and will be used strictly for statistics.
President Trump issued an executive order earlier this year to allow the Commerce Department to ask for records to help it compile citizenship data of those living in the U.S.
“Today i will be issuing an executive order to put this very plan into effect immediately,” he stated. “I am hereby ordering every department and agency in the federal government to provide the Department of Commerce with all requested records regarding the number of citizens and non-citizens in our country.”
Multiple civil rights groups are challenging the president’s executive order by arguing it is “motivated by a racially discriminatory scheme to reduce Latino political representation.”
In the meantime, each state is making their own determinations for how to respond, but some fear there will be a decline in Latino participation in states that comply with the bureau’s requests. The state of Illinois has already denied the White House’s request.
The Census Bureau said it will decide on a method to track citizenship throughout all U.S. states before the census count officially begins on April 1, 2020.