USA: A Judge Blocked the Census From Asking About Citizenship. Here’s Why It Matters

One of the better analysis that I have seen:

A federal judge in New York has blocked the Trump Administration from adding a question about citizenship status to the 2020 Census, marking a victory for critics who have said the question is unnecessary and is intended to decrease the number of immigrants and minorities counted in the decennial survey.

The ruling is just the first in a series of cases on the issue, which has significant implications for future elections, political representation at every level and federal funding decisions for the next decade. The Trump Administration is also facing five other lawsuits over the Census question, and the battle is expected to end up at the Supreme Court.

But U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman’s decision on Tuesday was an important moment. The suit’s plaintiffs — a collection of immigrant advocacy groups, states and local officials — argued that the Trump Administration tried to add the citizenship question to intentionally dissuade immigrants from responding to the survey. The U.S. Census, which is conducted every 10 years, has not included a question about citizenship since 1950. More detailed sampling surveys have done so, but those go out to far fewer households.

Furman ruled that the way Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross added the question was “arbitrary and capricious” and violated administrative procedures.

“He 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,” Furman wrote in his 227-page decision.

The judge also ruled that Ross’s explanation for the citizenship change — that the Justice Department said it was needed to help enforce the Voting Rights Act — was “pretextual.”

Ross initially offered voting rights enforcement as his official explanation, but documents released as part of the ongoing lawsuits revealed that he began pushing the issue on his own soon after becoming Commerce Secretary.

The Justice Department said it was disappointed in the ruling, while advocacy groups like the ACLU cheered the decision.

“This ruling is a forceful rebuke of the Trump administration’s attempt to weaponize the census for an attack on immigrant communities,” Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, said in a statement. “The evidence at trial, including from the government’s own witness, exposed how adding a citizenship question would wreck the once-in-a-decade count of the nation’s population. The inevitable result would have been — and the administration’s clear intent was — to strip federal resources and political representation from those needing it most.”

As this was the first ruling in the cases against the citizenship question, evidence that came out during the trial could encourage those pursuing similar lawsuits, said William H. Frey, a demographer and expert on the Census at the Brookings Institution.

“This is good news for people who want to have a Census that represents America,” Frey told TIME. “You want to make sure that all groups are represented and it helps the proper apportionment of Congress, it helps federal spending that is allocated to different groups around the country.”

If immigrants and other minorities avoid responding to the census because of a question about citizenship, experts, including the Census Bureau itself, say it would likely result in a survey that significantly undercounts those populations.

The Census provides crucial data that is used for a wide variety of decisions, including how many representatives each state sends to Congress and how much federal money different areas receive for everything from highway funds to Medicaid. The data can also affect state representation and even the Electoral College, which is based on Congressional delegations.

The private sector often relies on Census numbers as well for decisions about where to open stores or where to base factories and other employment opportunities, Frey notes.

“The Constitution says that we need to count everyone in the United States and I think that as a scientist, as a demographer, as someone who has been doing this for a long time, the research is pretty unequivocal that that’s going to not be done if the citizenship question is on there,” he said.

Source: A Judge Blocked the Census From Asking About Citizenship. Here’s Why It Matters

Citizenship query will not cause U.S. census undercount: official

Does not appear he was entirely comfortable in his testimony, but not to the extent he felt compelled to resign as happens with Statistics Canada when the then Chief Statistician, Munir Sheikh, resigned over his views on the change to the less methodologically sound National Household Survey were misrepresented:

The U.S. Census Bureau’s top scientist on Wednesday insisted the bureau can get a full count of American residents during the 2020 census, despite the Trump administration’s addition of a question on citizenship.

The agency’s chief scientist, John Abowd, made the comments in testimony in federal court in New York, where a group of U.S. states, cities and civil rights groups have sued the administration to remove the question, arguing it could dissuade non-citizens from participating in the decennial census.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, a Republican, announced the citizenship question in March, saying it was needed to enforce federal laws against voter discrimination.

But plaintiffs say that is a pretext, and they want U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman, who is hearing the case, to strike the question. They say Ross’ real motive is to scare immigrants into abstaining from the census, costing their mostly-Democratic communities political representation and federal aid.

Abowd’s testimony spanned two days and grew tense at times.

Closing arguments were tentatively set for Nov. 27.

On Wednesday, plaintiffs accused government lawyers of “ambushing” them with new evidence.

On Tuesday Abowd appeared to fight back tears when a plantiff lawyer said the Trump administration had decided to add the citizenship question well before asking him to study the matter.

Abowd admitted the question could lower the response rate and quality of data in the 2020 census, but said it will not cause an undercount because the bureau will follow up with non-responders. If that process requires more effort than expected, he said, enumerators can simply work harder.

“There is enough capacity in the current cost model” to “adjust their workloads,” Abowd said, citing a $1.7 billion contingency in the census budget.

He said the bureau will also rely on neighbors and existing government records to augment missing data.

Witnesses for the plaintiffs previously testified that such methods will not produce a full count.

An economist and Cornell University professor, Abowd is among the trial’s most compelling witnesses. Appointed to his Census role during the Obama administration, he advised against including the citizenship question earlier this year. But as a witness, he has had to defend it.

“CARRYING OUT OBLIGATIONS”

On Wednesday, when Abowd testified that the bureau was planning a new study on the impact of the citizenship question on the voluntary response rate of the census, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union objected.

“They’re trying to ambush us with new evidence,” attorney Dale Ho said, saying that the information should have been revealed during discovery.

The judge appeared to agree, saying he was “inclined to strike” Abowd’s testimony on the topic.

On Tuesday, Abowd appeared to hold back tears when Ho said Ross had withheld information from Abowd.

Abowd was asked to spend his holidays last December running an analysis on the pros and cons of adding the question. In fact, Ho said, Ross had decided months earlier that he supported its addition.

“From the beginning of the time I started my analysis through today, I’m just carrying out my obligations,” said an emotional Abowd.

Source: Citizenship query will not cause U.S. census undercount: official

USA: Citizenship Question May Be ‘Major Barrier’ To 2020 Census Participation

Evidence-based:

The controversial new citizenship question the Trump administration added to the 2020 census may turn out to be a “major barrier” to the country’s full participation in the upcoming national head count, according to a national study commissioned by the Census Bureau.

The Constitution requires every person living in the U.S. — both citizens and noncitizens — to be counted once a decade. Those population numbers are used to determine how many congressional seats and Electoral College votes each state gets.

For the upcoming 2020 census, the Trump administration is planning to include a question it says the Justice Department needs to better enforce Voting Rights Act protections against racial discrimination. The question asks, “Is this person a citizen of the United States?”

In focus groups conducted in March and April to inform the government’s outreach efforts for the census, some participants identified that question as a significant reason why they would avoid taking part in the head count.

“They tended to both believe that the purpose of the question was to find undocumented immigrants and that the political discourse is targeting their ethnic group,” explained Sarah Evans, a lead researcher at PSB, a firm that is affiliated with census contractor Young & Rubicam. “This was an idea we heard across audiences,” she added.

The administration announced the addition of the question in late March, after the study had already begun. The 30 groups asked about the question represent populations the bureau consider to be among the hardest to count, including Spanish speakers, Vietnamese speakers and people of Middle Eastern or North African descent.

This preliminary finding of the 2020 Census Barriers, Attitudes and Motivators Studywas announced Thursday at a public meeting of the bureau’s National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations. It comes as the Trump administration is fighting six lawsuits from dozens of states, cities and other groups around the country over Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ decision to add the citizenship question to forms for the upcoming head count. A trial for the two lead lawsuits in New York City is set to start on Nov. 5.

Federal law prohibits the Census Bureau from releasing any information it collects that identifies individuals until 72 years after it’s collected, although the agency can share information with the public about specific demographic groups at a level as detailed as a specific neighborhood. Census Bureau officials emphasize that individuals’ information cannot be shared with law enforcement agencies such as the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Still, the study, which also included a nationwide survey distributed between February and April, found that many participants did not believe that the government will keep that promise of confidentiality. The fear is particularly high among Asian and black participants, as well as those who do not have a high school diploma and those with low proficiency in English or the internet.

Close to half of the survey participants (47 percent), researchers noted, incorrectly answered a question about whether the census is used to find people living without documentation, including more than a third that responded with “don’t know.” Some U.S. citizens surveyed may feel “endangered” by the political discourse surrounding the citizenship question, the researchers’ presentation at the bureau’s headquarters in Suitland, Md., also highlighted.

Making people “panic”

Latino “participants worried that their participation in the census could harm them personally or others in their communities/households they care about,” the researchers wrote in their presentation’s slide deck.

During a focus group of Spanish speakers, a participant described the current climate as a “hunt” for Latinos.

“Latinos are going to be afraid to be counted because of the retaliation that could happen,” the participant reported. “It’s like giving the government information, saying, ‘Oh, there are more here.’ ”

During another focus group of people of Middle Eastern or North African ancestry, one participant said: “ICE is working with different groups on deportation sweeps, and it would make me feel like I’m aiding in that. They’re doing a lot of illegal stuff, and so I wouldn’t fill out any of the questions.”

The citizenship question’s purpose, a Vietnamese-speaking focus group participant said, was “to make people panic,” especially those who are afraid of deportation.

Asked by NPR how the Census Bureau plans to incorporate these findings into the communications plan for the 2020 census, spokesperson Naomi Evangelista did not provide any details but instead pointed to a blog post written by the agency’s acting director, Ron Jarmin.

“The extensive research effort yielded rich insights that will inform the subsequent stages of the communications campaign,” Jarmin wrote, adding that the study’s findings will guide advertising, social media and other efforts to encourage people to respond to the census.

The latest findings underline previously released research from the bureau that suggested that asking about citizenship status will discourage noncitizens, including immigrants living in the country illegally, from participating in the census. As a result, that could undermine the accuracy of the information gathered for the head count. Before Ross announced his decision to add the citizenship question, Census Bureau researchers advocated for a different way of producing citizenship information for the Justice Department that would generate data more accurate and less expensive than self-reported responses to a question on the census.

Source: Citizenship Question May Be ‘Major Barrier’ To 2020 Census Participation

There is nothing Orwellian about collecting accurate, real-time data: Barrie McKenna

Good commentary. Given the Conservatives legacy in downgrading the Census to the less accurate National Household Survey in 2011, their record on these kinds of issues is suspect.

And, as McKenna notes, “Worse than Big Brother is Blind Brother:”

To hear Conservatives spin it, Statistics Canada’s plan to gather the banking and spending records of hundreds of thousands of Canadians is akin to “Big Brother on steroids” and an “Orwellian intrusion into the lives of Canadians.”

The truth isn’t nearly as sinister. Rest assured, the government is not plotting a massive surveillance campaign to find out what you ate for lunch or your monthly mortgage payment.

Guess what? Ottawa already has your social insurance number – because it gave it to you. And it has your tax returns.

The government does, however, need better data to provide a complete and accurate portrait of Canada’s economy and society, in real time. As part of a “modernization” of its operations, Statscan wants banks, cellphone companies, retailers and other companies to share more of the so-called big data they have, and leverage them for the collective public good.

As Canada’s chief statistician Anil Arora put it: “Traditional statistics gathering methods are no longer sufficient to accurately measure Canada’s economy and social changes.”

Yes, some of the information Statscan wants to gather is personal. But all personal identifiers, including names, addresses and social insurance numbers, would be removed before any of it is compiled and released to the public. That’s what the agency already does routinely with census data, the monthly household survey and vast amounts of competitively sensitive corporate information.

Statscan has been peeking into our lives for a long time. Unfortunately, response rates from the agency’s traditional surveys have been falling, leaving it with often suspect and outdated data to feed into its key reports. The agency says getting access to financial transactions is vital to producing a timely, accurate picture of the economy.

As it should, Statscan is working closely with the federal Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien to ensure personal data are not put at risk, or shared publicly. It’s up to Mr. Therrien, who last week launched an inquiry into Statscan’s big data pilot project, to set the rules, and then let the agency do its job.

Statscan is hardly unique. Statistics agencies around the world are similarly leveraging big data for public policy purposes. And that’s unambiguously a good thing, according to University of British Columbia economist Kevin Milligan.

“This research is vital to forming good government policy and providing good economic information to the private sector,” Mr. Milligan says. “Statistics Canada should and does work with the privacy commissioner to balance the good that comes from research to the potential challenges to privacy.”

It’s ludicrous to suggest Ottawa is spying on Canadians. What Statscan is doing is tapping into what the private sector already knows about all of us, and aggregating it for public consumption.

If you’re seriously concerned about letting others see your financial records, shopping habits and internet surfing behaviour, well, that horse left the barn a long time ago.

Just think for a minute what companies such as Toronto-Dominion Bank, Bell, Facebook, Google, Amazon or the operator of the Highway 407 toll road already know about what you did today, or in the past month. Stitch it all together, and it’s your life in bits and bytes.

Canadians should be more concerned that there are adequate controls over what these companies are doing with your data. Perhaps Canada’s big banks are resisting giving your data to Statscan because they are more interested in exploiting it themselves.

The more ominous privacy threat may not be Statscan. The greater risk may lie with the major private-sector collectors of big data, many of which are foreign owned and store it all far beyond the reach of the government. And they often operate with far weaker privacy constraints than government agencies.

Governments already know plenty about you. There are census data, passport photos and records, tax filings, municipal property records, health records, driving offences and court records. No reasonable person would suggest this is somehow part of a nefarious Big Brother spying plot.

The agency’s data-collection pilot is not the problem. It is part of the solution. For years, Statscan’s ability to do its job was eroded by steady budget cuts. The current Liberal government reinstated some that funding in this year’s budget, with an additional $41-million over five years to improve the agency’s ability to do its job.

Worse than collecting more data is having a data deficit. Governments, and businesses, risk making major mistakes without accurate, real-time data.

Worse than Big Brother is Blind Brother.

Source: There is nothing Orwellian about collecting accurate, real-time data: Barrie McKenna

Trump Administration Asks SCOTUS To Block Top Officials From Explaining Census Citizenship Question

Will be interesting to see how the SCOTUS rules:

The Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court to step in and block two top officials from having to speak under oath in a lawsuit challenging the administration’s decision to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 Census.

In a petition filed Wednesday, the Justice Department asked the high court to prevent Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and John Gore, the acting head of DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, from having to sit for depositions in the case. A coalition of activist groups, cities and nearly 20 states, led by New York, say the Trump administration was predisposed to adding the citizenship question, and say it violated federal law by not following the proper procedure for doing so.

Getting information from Ross and Gore is crucial to the lawsuit because Ross, who oversees the Census, has said he added the question at the request of the Justice Department. DOJ said it needed the question, which has not been asked on the decennial survey since 1950, to get better citizenship data so it can better enforce the Voting Rights Act. But documents disclosed as part of the litigation show that Ross wanted to add the citizenship question even before the Justice Department requested it, and that it was Ross who initially approached DOJ officials about making the request.

Critics say adding the citizenship question will depress the response rate among immigrants who fear sharing their immigration status with the Trump administration. Data collected by the Census is strongly protected by federal privacy laws and must be kept confidential.

A lower court in New York has ordered depositions of Ross and Gore, saying they possess unique and relevant information that can’t be obtained from other sources. In its Wednesday filing, the government said the lower court’s ruling was incorrect, and that the case should be evaluated based on an “administrative record” of documents compiled by the government detailing why it made its decision.

“The court thought Secretary Ross’s testimony uniquely vital because he was personally involved in the decision to reinstate a citizenship question and the decision is of great importance to the public,” U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco wrote in the brief. “The Secretary’s personal involvement in a significant policy decision is not exceptional, and the importance of the Secretary’s decision in this case does not distinguish it from many other decisions of national importance that Cabinet Secretaries make.”

The information that the government has disclosed in the lawsuit so far has raised significant questions about the decision to add the citizenship query. The documents show Ross and top aides discussing the addition of the citizenship question, and a memo in which the bureau’s top scientist advised against adding it.

Justice Department lawyers have been fighting to block the plaintiffs in the case from gathering information beyond the documents that government officials voluntarily compiled about the decision. However, they have been largely unsuccessful. On Sunday, U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman, the trial judge overseeing the case, said the government’s most recent request was “particularly frivolous — if not outrageous.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit is also considering whether to block Ross from having to sit for a deposition, but said last week that Gore could be deposed. A trial in the case is scheduled to begin at the start of November.

“The Trump administration has repeatedly tried to block discovery in our suit ― and courts have repeatedly rejected their attempts. You have to wonder what they’re trying to hide,” said Amy Spitalnick, a spokeswoman for New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood (D). “We’ll get to the bottom of how the decision to demand citizenship status was made, as we continue our case to ensure a full and fair Census.”

Source: Trump Administration Asks SCOTUS To Block Top Officials From Explaining Census Citizenship Question

Memo Contradicts Ross’s Rationale for Adding Citizenship Question to Census

The truth will out but whether it will be consequential is another matter:

The Trump White House produces no shortage of eye-catching, headline-grabbing acts of malfeasance. Brazenly blatant acts of corruption, titillating tell-alls from the president’s porn-star paramours, and proto-authoritarian Twitter tantrums are constantly competing for limited headline space.

And yet, this administration is arguably most dangerous when it’s at its most boring. In the dull, gray innards of the federal bureaucracies, Donald Trump’s minions are making profoundly consequential (and, in many cases, deeply corrupt) decisions that will never make the “A block” of a single cable news show.

And no set of decisions has broader potential implications for our democracy than those the Commerce Department has made regarding the 2020 census.

The U.S. government’s decennial attempt to count every human being within its borders might seem like one of Uncle Sam’s most anodyne activities. But when those overseeing the count belong to a political movement that explicitly regards demographic change as its enemy — and disenfranchising Democratic constituencies as fair game — the Census can begin to resemble an ominous enterprise. Census data shapes the contours of political districts, and determines each state’s clout in the Electoral College. It dictates what proportion of federal funding for schools, roads, and libraries each state is entitled to. Thus, if a Republican administration found a facially neutral way of systematically undercounting residents in Democratic-leaning areas, it could inflate red America’s (already disproportionate) influence over our political system.

And the Trump administration appeared to be doing just that last March, when it decided to add a question about citizenship status to the 2020 census. By that point, the White House had already (unsuccessfully) attempted to put a leading proponent of GOP gerrymandering (who had no experience managing a large bureaucracy) in charge of overseeing the Census, while refusing to hire noncitizen Census-takers for the purpose of reaching immigrant communities. Meanwhile, Census Bureau researchers had already warned that test surveys were prompting “unprecedented” levels of concern from immigrants, who feared that providing the government with information about themselves would result in their deportation. Census data cannot be legally used for immigration enforcement. But, for understandable reasons, undocumented immigrants weren’t eager to bet their capacity to live in the United States on the Trump administration’s commitment to the letter of the law.

Thus, the Commerce Department’s decision to ask Census respondents about their citizenship status, for the first time since 1950, looked like a deliberate attempt to exacerbate this problem. And if the citizenship question did, in fact, depress undocumented immigrants’ participation in the Census — and thereby, lead the federal government to systematically undercount them — there would be obvious benefits to the GOP: Most undocumented immigrants live in Democratic-leaning metropolitan areas, so the fewer of them the government counts, the greater the share of federal money and political influence that rural, Republican-leaning areas will receive.

And the GOP had another, equally controversial incentive for surveying the American public about their citizenship. The judiciary has long insisted that U.S. House districts must be drawn on the basis of total population — not total voters — so that children, prisoners, undocumented immigrants, and others who lack access to the ballot are provided with indirect representation. But some conservative groups have mulled drawing state and local districts on the basis of eligible voters (ostensibly, so as to minimize the influence that godless city slickers wield over state capitols). In 2016, the Supreme Court indicated that it might approve of such a practice. But without Census data on citizens and noncitizens, red states would have no means of giving voters-only districting a try.

Still, the Trump administration insisted that its decision to alter the Census was rooted in only the purest of motives — specifically, a heartfelt desire to protect the voting rights of African-Americans. In congressional testimony, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross explained that his bureau only began considering the citizenship question after the Department of Justice indicated that it needed such information to fully enforce the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Of course, the idea that Jeff Sessions was desperate for new tools he could use in lawsuits against southern states with racially discriminatory political practices never passed the smell test. Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of American politics knew that Ross was “trolling the libs.”Still, it wasn’t clear whether the administration’s bad faith could be proven. And this was an important distinction — because if advocates for immigrant communities could establish, through documentary evidence, that the Trump administration had a discriminatory intent when it added the citizenship question to the Census, they just might be able to get a court to strike it down.

And on Monday, New York attorney general Barbara Underwood revealed what appears to be a smoking gun. As part of her lawsuit challenging the Census question, Underwood publicly filed a newly unredacted internal Commerce Department memo, which reveals that the Justice Department (DOJ) did not initiate the request for the citizenship question — but rather, resisted Commerce’s initial attempts to extract such a request from it.

Now, the DOJ did issue a formal request for a question about citizenship status in December of 2017 — but only after the Commerce Department had spent months lobbying for such a request. As NPR reports:

[M]emos and emails released previously as part of the lawsuits over the question already have contradicted Ross’ testimony. They make clear that Ross was eager to add the question shortly after he was confirmed as commerce secretary in February 2017 … Earl Comstock — a key Commerce Department official on census-related issues — first approached Justice Department officials in May 2017. Comstock eventually discussed the issue with James McHenry, a Justice Department official working on immigration issues who now oversees the immigration courts as the head of the Executive Office for Immigration Review.

“Justice staff did not want to raise the question given the difficulties Justice was encountering in the press at the time (the whole Comey matter),” Comstock wrote to Ross in a newly unredacted portion of the memo, which is dated Sept. 8, 2017.

With the DOJ looking to avoid controversy amid the fallout from Trump’s firing of James Comey, the Commerce Department began searching for other agencies that might force it to ask U.S. residents about their citizenship. The memo reveals that Comstock sought a request from the Department of Homeland Security, only to have DHS refer him back to the DOJ. Comstock then directed an attorney at the Commerce Department “to look into the legal issues and how Commerce could add the question to the Census itself,” according to a previously redacted portion of the memo.

All of which is to say: On Monday, the state of New York ostensibly revealed that the Commerce Secretary lied to Congress about his rationale for adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census — a development that lends credence to the claim that the Trump administration is deliberately trying to engineer an inaccurate count of the U.S. population in hopes of consolidating their party’s grip on power through anti-democratic means.

And this wasn’t enough to qualify as headline news.

Source: Memo Contradicts Ross’s Rationale for Adding Citizenship Question to Census

U.S. Has Highest Share of Foreign-Born Since 1910, With More Coming From Asia

Significant shift.

Extent to which it may change the tenor of US immigration debates, largely over illegal and undocumented immigration from Mexico and Central America unclear:

The foreign-born population in the United States has reached its highest share since 1910, according to government data released Thursday, and the new arrivals are more likely to come from Asia and to have college degrees than those who arrived in past decades.

The Census Bureau’s figures for 2017 confirm a major shift in who is coming to the United States. For years newcomers tended to be from Latin America, but a Brookings Institution analysis of that data shows that 41 percent of the people who said they arrived since 2010 came from Asia. Just 39 percent were from Latin America. About 45 percent were college educated, the analysis found, compared with about 30 percent of those who came between 2000 and 2009.

“This is quite different from what we had thought,” said William H. Frey, the senior demographer at the Brookings Institution who conducted the analysis. “We think of immigrants as being low-skilled workers from Latin America, but for recent arrivals that’s much less the case. People from Asia have overtaken people from Latin America.”

The new data was released as the nation’s changing demography has become a flash point in American politics. President Trump, and many Republicans, have sounded alarms about immigration and suggested the government needs to restrict both the number and types of people coming into the country.

The last historic peak in immigration to the United States came at the end of the 19th century, when large numbers of Europeans fled poverty and violence in their home countries. Some of the largest numbers came from Germany, Italy and Poland. That wave peaked around the turn of the century, when the total foreign-born population stood at nearly 15 percent. But after the passage of strict racial quotas in the 1920s, the foreign-born population fell sharply for decades in the middle of the 20th century. By 1970, the population was below 5 percent.

The passage of a more liberal immigration law in 1965, which ended ethnic quotas and prioritized family reunification, ushered in new demographics. And the changes have only accelerated in recent years.

For many years, Mexico was the single largest contributor of immigrants. But since 2010, the number of immigrants arriving from Mexico has declined, while those from China and India have surged. Since 2010, the increase in the number of people from Asia — 2.6 million — was more than double the 1.2 million who came from Latin America, Mr. Frey found.

The foreign-born population stood at 13.7 percent in 2017, or 44.5 million people, compared with 13.5 percent in 2016.

Some of the largest gains were in states with the smallest immigrant populations, suggesting that immigrants were spreading out in the country. New York and California, states with large immigrant populations, both had increases of less than six percent since 2010. But foreign-born populations rose by 20 percent in Tennessee, 13 percent in Ohio, 12 percent in South Carolina and 20 percent in Kentucky over the same period.

Emmanuel D’Souza, a nurse practitioner in Dayton, Ohio, who emigrated from India in 2004, said he has noticed a growing and thriving Indian population in his area.

“Now when you go to the grocery store at 5 or 6 in the evening, you see a lot of Indian people, buying vegetables after work,” said Mr. D’Souza.

He said he saw fewer Indian people when he bought his house in 2009 than he does today. Now he counted at least four temples and two mosques, and said there are two Indian specialty grocery stores. Mr. D’Souza, 41, who is Catholic, also sees Indians in church on Sundays.

The data also suggests a political pattern among states with large percentages of foreign-born residents. Of the 15 states with the highest concentration of immigrants, all but three — Florida, Texas and Arizona — voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race. Many of the states with low and moderate concentrations of foreign-born people voted for Mr. Trump, Mr. Frey found.

In those low-concentration states, foreign-born populations tended to be more educated than the native-born. In Ohio, for example, 43 percent of the foreign-born population is college educated, compared with just 27 percent of American-born Ohioans. About 43 percent of the foreign-born population is from Asia, far more than the 20 percent from Latin America.

The same can be true in states with large immigrant populations. About 15 percent of the population of Maryland last year was foreign-born. Of those people, 42 percent had college degrees, compared with 39 percent of American-born Marylanders.

Chao Wu, a data scientist in Columbia, Maryland, who came from China in 2003, said he had long known about Asian graduate students in the United States, because he had been one. But it wasn’t until he started running for a seat on his county’s board of education that he noticed the richness and variation in the population.

“I increased my outreach and I realized there was a big Asian-American business community, with restaurants and grocery stores,” he said. He said he recently helped organize a ceremony in his town with a sister city in China. A portion of Route 40 was renamed Korean Way.

But the rising levels of education are not lifting everyone. Asian-Americans are now the most economically divided racial or ethnic group in the country, according to a Pew Research Center analysis. Income inequality among Asian-Americans nearly doubled from 1970 to 2016.

While people from Asia make up the largest share of recent newcomers, a majority of the country’s total foreign-born population is still from Latin America — 50 percent, compared to 31 percent from Asia.

North Dakota had the single largest percentage increase in foreign-born residents since 2010, Mr. Frey said, with the number going up by 87 percent. Dr. Fadel E. Nammour, a gastroenterologist in Fargo, N.D., who moved to the United States from Lebanon in 1996, said he has noticed more immigrant-owned restaurants since he moved to North Dakota in 2002. In recent years, the state has settled refugees from countries including Iraq, Somalia and Congo. In all, foreign-born people in North Dakota rose to 31,000 in 2017 from just 16,600 in 2010, Mr. Frey found.

“There is more diversity now,” Dr. Nammour said. “You can tell by food. There are Indian places that opened up. We have an African place now. Little things that are a little bit different.”

Source: Immigrants, Many from Asia, Reach Highest Share of U.S. Population Since 1910Immigrants, Many from Asia, Reach Highest Share of U.S. Population Since 1910The Census Bureau’s figures for 2017 confirm a major shift in who is coming to the United States.The new arrivals are more likely to come from Asia and to have college degrees than those who arrived in past decades.

Fewer people are answering a US agency’s citizenship query. That’s fueling fears for the 2020 census

Interesting given that this trend predates Trump and the increased anti-immigrant and xenophobic discourse:

A growing number of Americans are not willing to disclose their citizenship status on a government survey, according to new research. The finding adds fuel to an already fierce political debate over adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

State officials and civil rights groups have sued Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, challenging his decision earlier this year to add such a question to the decennial census. Ross’s opponents worry some groups, notably foreign-born residents, will shy away from answering the question because of the current hyperpartisan battle over U.S. immigration policy. That could undermine the accuracy of the constitutionally mandated exercise used to apportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and allocate $800 billion in federal funds, they say. The new data appear to bolster that argument by documenting rising nonresponse rates to the question on a related Census Bureau survey.

Citizenship is one of 72 questions on the American Community Survey (ACS), an annual sampling of 3.5 million households that in 2005 replaced the long form of the decennial census. The new study finds that the portion of respondents who did not answer the ACS citizenship question more than doubled between 2010 through 2016, from 2.7% to 6%. In contrast, the nonresponse rates for other demographic questions on the ACS—including race, sex, age, and Hispanic origin—remained constant, at less than 2%.

“This suggests an increased sensitivity to being asked about citizenship,” says Indivar Dutta-Gupta of the Center on Poverty and Inequality at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., which released the report late last week. “The findings lend support to the conclusions of many experts, including former census directors, state officials, and the National Academy of Sciences, that a citizenship question will increase the risks for the 2020 census,” says the author, demographer William O’Hare, a veteran census data cruncher and consultant based in Baltimore, Maryland.

O’Hare found that nonresponse rates on the citizenship question also varied greatly by geography in ways that could jeopardize an accurate reapportionment. The highest rates—Arizona led at 9% and California, New York, and Colorado all exceeded 7%—are home to large numbers of immigrants. The lowest rates, below 4%, were found in Vermont, West Virginia, and Maine—states with relatively small immigrant populations.

No answer

In recent years, a growing number of respondents to the American Community Survey are not answering a question about their citizenship. Nonresponse rates to other demographic questions, however, have remained stable.
(GRAPH) D. MALAKOFF/SCIENCE; (DATA) WILLIAM P. O’HARE, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY CENTER ON POVERTY AND INEQUALITY

There was also variability by racial and ethnic group. Asian-Americans and Hispanics had nonresponse rates of 8.1% and 7.4%, respectively, whereas the rate for non-Hispanic whites was 5.6%. Some 8.3% of foreign-born residents ignored the question, compared with only 5.7% of those born in the United States.

The mode of response also matters. O’Hare found that nonresponse rates were highest among those who answered the ACS online, at 8%. In contrast, 6.7% of those who mailed back a paper ACS bypassed the citizenship question, and the nonresponse rate was only 3.8% for those filling out the ACS through a personal interview.

That disparity could be a double whammy for the 2020 census, O’Hare says. The internet will be an option for the first time, and Census Bureau officials hope more than 60% of U.S. residents will answer electronically. In addition, he says, the 500,000 fieldworkers hired for short-term duty on the decennial census are likely to be less capable of cajoling reluctant residents to answer any questions they have skipped than the smaller and better-trained workforce deployed for the ACS. In effect, says O’Hare, the Census Bureau “is pushing a mode of data collection and a methodology that results in higher nonresponse rates.”

In a March memo justifying his decision, Ross asserts that his staff found “limited empirical evidence” to support the argument that “adding a citizenship question would decrease response rates materially.” But a memo from John Abowd, the Census Bureau’s chief scientist, casts doubt on Ross’s assertion by detailing the negative impact of such a question on response rates. The memo was disclosed as part of the department’s response to the various law suits, and O’Hare’s analysis reinforces its message that the citizenship question represents an added burden for some respondents.

“It’s not a random sample,” Dutta-Gupta says about who is more likely to ignore the citizenship question. “The differences [in nonresponse rates] are concentrated geographically and racially. And that’s important.”

Source: Fewer people are answering a US agency’s citizenship query. That’s fueling fears for the 2020 census

USA: Documents Show Political Lobbying in Census Question About Citizenship

Not surprising. Echoes of the Conservative government’s approach to the 2011 Census/National Household Survey:

Documents released in a lawsuit attempting to block the inclusion of a question about citizenship in the 2020 census show lobbying by anti-immigration hard-liners for the question’s inclusion, and resistance on the part of some census officials to asking it.

The Kansas secretary of state, Kris W. Kobach, who has taken a strong position against illegal immigration and was appointed by President Trump to a now-defunct panel on voter fraud, had advocated the question directly with the secretary of commerce, Wilbur Ross, according to the documents. In a July 2017 email to an aide to Mr. Ross, Mr. Kobach said that he had reached out to the secretary a few months earlier “on the direction of Steve Bannon,” then the White House chief strategist.

In an email to Mr. Ross, Mr. Kobach urged the addition of the question, saying that including undocumented immigrants in the decennial count of the United States population would, among other things, lead to the problem “that aliens who do not actually ‘reside’ in the United States are still counted for congressional apportionment purposes.”

The documents were released by the Justice Department late Friday night in response to a federal lawsuit from the attorneys general of 18 states aimed at blocking the inclusion of the question, which was added to the census questionnaire in March.

The 1,332 pages released by the Commerce Department show a chorus of warnings from scientists, immigrant groups and lawmakers. They also includes letters of support from others who endorse the question, including Representative Bob Goodlatte, Republican of Virginia.

Mr. Ross defended the addition of the question, pointing to the documents released. “I am confident that after months of review and consideration, this administrative record proves that the return of the citizenship question to the Decennial Census is the right move that will allow our country to have the most complete and accurate census information available,” he said.

The Commerce Department added in a statement that “the notion that Secretary Ross decided to reinstate the citizenship question in response to a single email” is disproved by the fact that Mr. Kobach’s note is but one of the more than 500 pages of records produced.

Many of the letters in the documents released support the legal justification for the inclusion of the question. Mr. Goodlatte, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said it was necessary to uphold Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits United States citizens from being denied the right to vote because of race.

“In order to best enforce this prohibition, an accurate enumeration of the number of citizens in America should be conducted, and the most accurate such enumeration would be one in which a question regarding citizenship were reinstated starting with the 2020 census,” Mr. Goodlatte wrote.

Arthur Gary, the general counsel in the Justice Department’s justice management division, also invoked the enforcement of that Act as reason to include the question, according to the documents.

But there were also detailed scientific arguments opposing it, according to an analysis conducted by John M. Abowd, the chief scientist and associate director for research and methodology at the United States Census Bureau, that was included in the documents. The impact of asking about citizenship would be “major potential quality and cost disruptions,” it asserted.

The research also showed that the cost of adding this question, Mr. Abowd said, would be at least an additional $27.5 million, which would cover Census Bureau personnel having to track down households that did not respond.

“We believe that $27.5 million is a conservative estimate because the other evidence cited in this report suggests that the differences between citizen and noncitizen response rates and data quality will be amplified during the 2020 census compared to historical levels,” Mr. Abowd wrote in a Jan. 19 memo.

The Census Scientific Advisory Committee, a group of academics and scientists mandated to review the census by the Congress, also strongly disagreed with the inclusion of the question. “We hold the strong opinion that including citizenship in the 2020 census would be a serious mistake which would result in a substantial lowering of the response rate,” the committee said.

“These documents make clear what we already knew — career staff at the Census Bureau warned the political leadership at the Commerce Department that the inclusion of a citizenship question would depress census response rates, increase costs and diminish the quality of census data,” said Vanita Gupta, chief executive of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

Ms. Gupta said that the release showed political meddling by Mr. Kobach and Mr. Bannon in the census process.

The office of Mr. Kobach did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Nor did Mr. Bannon immediately respond.

In response to the release of the documents, Representative Elijah Cummings, the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, asked Trey Gowdy, the committee chairman, to subpoena the Commerce and Justice Departments. He said the Justice Department omitted “entire categories of requested documents.”

This spring Mr. Cummings and other committee members asked both departments for any and all conversations, analyses and documentation related to the citizenship question, including the impact it could have on census response rates and costs. They wanted to know who worked on the issue and whether anyone expressed concerns, inside or outside of government. They specifically asked the Justice Department for all communications related to how the question would help enforce the Voting Rights Act.

The Justice Department is reviewing the document requests it received this spring from the House, but the information it produced Friday night was for the lawsuit and unrelated to the Oversight Committee’s efforts to obtain information.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment on Mr. Cummings’s statement.

Republican committee members have said they support production of the documents and would vote to subpoena for more information if necessary.

The citizenship question has not been on a decennial census since 1950. It has been on the annual American Community Survey, however, since 2005, but that goes to fewer households, rather than the entire country.

The lawsuit filed in April by 18 attorneys general, six cities and the United States Conference of Mayors — led by New York — argued that the question would result in an undercount, which would not only “fatally undermine the accuracy of the 2020 census, but will jeopardize critical federal funding needed by states and localities to provide services and support for millions of residents.”

“Further,” the suit continued, “it will deprive historically marginalized immigrant communities of critical public and private resources over the next 10 years.”

A subsequent lawsuit was filed last week by the American Civil Liberties Union and other immigrant rights groups, charging that asking the citizenship question thwarts the constitutional mandate to accurately count the United States population.

The Complicated History Of The U.S. Census Asking About Citizenship : NPR

Nice summary history (spoiler alert: squeezed out given concerns over Census length with addition of consumer and other questions):

Lawmakers are set to question the Justice Department Friday about why it requested the 2020 census to ask about citizenship. The history of using the U.S. census to ask about citizenship has many twists and turns.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The Justice Department point person on civil rights heads to Capitol Hill tomorrow for what may be a tough hearing. It is about the 2020 census. The department has requested that the census form include a question about U.S. citizenship. The federal government has used the census to ask people about their citizenship before. NPR’s Hansi Lo Wang explains the surprising history.

HANSI LO WANG, BYLINE: This is a story with lots of stops and starts, so we’ll need a tour guide.

MARGO ANDERSON: My name is Margo Anderson.

WANG: She’s a history professor at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

ANDERSON: Right. And I’m the author of “The American Census: A Social History.”

WANG: And she traces the first time all U.S. households were asked about citizenship all the way back to the census of 1820.

Was this still done on horseback at that time?

ANDERSON: Oh, certainly (laughter) – or walking.

WANG: That was the country’s fourth headcount. And census takers asked…

ANDERSON: Are there any foreigners not naturalized in your household? And if so, how many?

WANG: Anderson says she’s not sure why these questions were included.

ANDERSON: I haven’t found yet any evidence of the use of that information in terms of policies, which I think is why it simply disappeared.

WANG: By 1840, the government stops asking about foreigners who are not citizens. Fifty years pass before the topic comes up again in 1890. By this point, the federal government had been asking for decades about where people were born and where their parents were born. Anderson explains why.

ANDERSON: Well, we have lots of immigrants in the country right now. How are they doing?

WANG: So for the 1890 census, people born outside the U.S. were asked how long they’ve been in the country and whether they’ve become citizens. And census takers kept asking similar questions well into the 20th century.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “IN THE SUBURBS”)

WANG: We’re going to skip ahead to the years just before the 1960 headcount.

ANDERSON: The census officials and Congress begin to sort of say do we really still need to ask this?

WANG: The number of immigrants in the U.S. had been dropping. The list of census questions was long. And as this 1957 short film by Redbook magazine puts it…

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “IN THE SUBURBS”)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character) It’s a happy go-spending world reflected in the windows of the suburban shopping centers where they go to buy.

WANG: Business leaders and researchers pushed the government to ask about a different set of topics.

ANDERSON: Particularly a lot of questions about consumer goods. Do people have televisions and washing machines?

WANG: This is what squeezes out the citizenship question.

ANDERSON: Yes.

WANG: In 1970, the government starts asking about citizenship on a small survey for a sample of households. Fast-forward to today. The Trump administration has approved a new citizenship question for all households in 2020. The Justice Department says it needs data from it to better enforce the Voting Rights Act. But Anderson says this citizenship question may confuse a lot of people.

ANDERSON: It’s like, why are you asking me this? Of course I’m a citizen. I was born here.

WANG: Critics say those born outside the U.S. may stay away from the census because of the question. More than two dozen states and cities are suing to remove it. Anderson sees this debate as part of the complicated census history of asking about citizenship. It’s been a series of twists and turns over 200 years. Hansi Lo Wang, NPR News, Washington.

via The Complicated History Of The U.S. Census Asking About Citizenship : NPR