Dorsey: Citizenship question not needed on 2020 Census

The League of Women Voters is very concerned about the potential impact of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ announcement that the Census Bureau will include a question about citizenship in the 2020 Census.

Michelle Dorsey

Both the national League and the League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Phoenix believe that this decision will have a negative impact on residents in all parts of Arizona and in communities around this country.

This unnecessary question, which has not been used since 1950, is invasive and raises concerns about the confidentiality of personal information in the upcoming Census report. With SB1070 still fresh in so many Arizonan’s minds, this intrusive question will cause participation in the Census to plummet.

For a fast-growing state like Arizona and for Maricopa County, which is among the fastest growing counties in the nation, an inaccurate census will have implications for years to come. The federal government relies on Census data to determine our allotment of members of the House of Representatives. In Arizona, our leaders rely on Census data to allocate resources for public assistance programs including public safety planning and disaster response, education needs, hospitals, assistance for veterans and transportation.  Our business developers use Census data to make investment decisions that boost economic growth.

Therefore, the League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Phoenix calls on all the elected officials in Maricopa County to include the county board of supervisors, the mayors and councils of all cities and towns, and the legislators to speak out and oppose the citizenship question in the 2020 Census. We must send a strong message to Congress to reverse this decision and remove the question from the Census.

The stakes are too high to allow this unnecessary question to derail the count.

Editor’s note: Michelle Dorsey, MD, is the president of the League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Phoenix.

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