On Tuesday, a federal judge blocked the Commerce Department from adding a question to the 2020 census about American citizenship, The New York Times reported.
Judge Jesse M. Furman of the United States District Court in Manhattan criticized commerce secretary Wilbur L. Ross Jr. for ordering that the citizenship question be added.
Judge Furman said the Mr. Ross “failed to consider several important aspects of the problem; alternately ignored, cherry-picked, or badly misconstrued the evidence in the record before him; acted irrationally both in light of that evidence and his own stated decisional criteria; and failed to justify significant departures from past policies and practices.”
Judge Furman went on to say that although Mr. Ross had “egregious” violations, there was not enough evidence to prove that he sought to discriminate against noncitizens and minorities.
Critics of adding the citizenship question reason that the question would discourage immigrants- legal and illegal- from being counted in the 2020 census in fear that they would be targeted for deportation.
Approximately 24 million non-citizens live in the U.S. and less than 11 million do so illegally.
Because the census is integral for government and business decisions, if non-citizens were not counted, many decision would be skewed. For example, where to open a new hospital or store could be dependent on population numbers reported by the census.
More, if non-citizens were undercounted, numbers used to reapportion seats in the House of Representatives in 2021 would be misleading.
The Census Bureau recommends against adding a citizenship question. According to their January estimates, at least 630,000 households would not fill out the census if the question was added.