There's nothing to fear from a citizenship question on the census

In my opinion, your recent editorial about adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census is wrongheaded. There is no evidence that the addition of a citizenship question will result in massive under-reporting of immigrants. To state that immigrants will avoid filling out the census is akin to stating that there is mass voter fraud without evidence.

The fear that the government will use these data to deport noncitizens is also flawed. There is already sufficient data collected in the census (e.g., race, ethnicity, location) to mine the results and identify highly likely immigrants living in the U.S. illegally and initiate deportation proceedings. It hasn’t happened and will not happen, as the U.S. Census Bureau has stated that individual data will not be released.

As a political sociologist interested in demography, I welcome the addition of the citizenship question because it will allow us to accurately gauge the number of noncitizens as well as citizens — data points that have been unavailable for over half a century.

— Scott Lauder, Libertyville

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