Looks like the citizenship question is back on the census again

The on again, off again issue of putting a citizenship question on the full census form in 2020 is back on again, at least for now. After a federal judge in New York somehow declared the question unconstitutional recently, the matter was left up in the air. The Supreme Court will likely have to sort this one out sooner rather than later, but for now, another judge has refused to issue a temporary injunction against the question being included. (The Hill)


A federal judge Friday said privacy concerns were not a sufficient reason to immediately block a question about citizenship from the census, declining a request to offer a preliminary injunction.

“The Court will deny the plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction,” wrote Judge Dabney L. Friedrich.

She argued that the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which requested the injunction, did not sufficiently prove that the government needed to do a “privacy impact assessment” before it could add a question to the census.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross first announced in March of last year that he would add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census.

I first noticed this story at our friend Jeff Dunetz’s blog. He points out what should already have been obvious. The government has been asking the citizenship question during the census in various forms going back nearly to the founding of the country.

The left always spews that their agenda is “common sense.” Finally, a judge gets to explain what common sense really means.

Asking about citizenship on the census is not new. The Chart below from the Center for Immigration Studies shows the citizenship question has been asked at various times during our nation’s history and to different percentages of the total census.

The arguments claiming that simply asking the question and compiling that data is either unconstitutional or somehow an invasion of privacy both strike me as specious to begin with. (Individual census results are not made public and the government obviously has a vested interest in knowing who is or isn’t a citizen as we have many federal laws in place that rely on such information.) But the argument goes deeper than that.


The census is not only mandated by the Constitution but is used for a variety of government purposes. Not least of these is the allocation of federal funding for any number of programs. These include various welfare and entitlement programs that illegal aliens are not allowed to benefit from. If the state records the total number of people living there without making a distinction between those in the country legally or illegally, they would be drawing federal funds that, in theory, could not be disbursed.

That’s only one of many issues that make fighting against having this question on the census silly. The other is that we were already asking about citizenship status on some of the long forms that go out to smaller subsets of people and nobody seemed to be complaining about that before. Let’s just get this cleared up and get on with the census already.

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