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Census citizenship question threatens Latino voting power

Media Contact

Rachel Rhodes

The Supreme Court will hold a hearing Tuesday on the proposed citizen question intended for the 2020 census. The question asks, “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” and has been found unlawful by three federal judges from Maryland, New York and California.

Matthew Hall

Associate Professor of Policy and Management

Matthew Hall, professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell University and faculty affiliate of the Cornell Population Center, conducts research on the intensification of interior immigration enforcement as well as the intersection of racial/ethnic inequality and immigration.

Hall says:

"While the census has inquired about citizenship in the past – and currently does so in other surveys – there are credible concerns that including the question will produce a non-trivial undercount of the population, particularly in areas with large Hispanic populations.

"Recent research, along with the Census Bureau’s own internal tests, indicates that an undercount would reduce the voting power not only of Latino strongholds in deep-blue California and New York, but parts of Texas, Florida, Georgia, and many rural communities in the heartland with growing Latino populations.

"Despite the Census Bureau’s best efforts to ensure confidentially, intensified immigration enforcement and a rise in nativist rhetoric surely heightens distrust and validates concerns that a citizenship question will be used for means other than population accounting."

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