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Citizenship Questions On Census May Hurt Illinois Count

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Illinois residents have been moving out-of-state, which already could lead to fewer seats in Congress.

Now, as CBS 2's Vince Gerasole reports,  a question on the 2020 Census could make that even more likely.

The Trump administration wants to ask a question about citizenship on the Census form.

In immigrant Chicago neighborhoods, like Pilsen,  the prospects of asking "are you a citizen of the U.S." is viewed with skepticism.

"It's problematic and it's idiotic," said William Camargo. "Already we have people who won't  fill the Census because of sensitive material."

"It kind of scares people off from even answering the questions," said Chelsey Gonzalez.  "Why even bring that fear into people and make them worry about it."

The U.S. Commerce Department tells the White House it needs to bring the question back to better count the electorate for the Voter Rights Act

"It has been part of every Census we have had since 1965 with the one exception of the 2010 Census," said White House spokesman Sarah Sanders.

Dr. Kathleen Yang-Clayton said refusal to participate in the Census has been heightened after the Trump administration's proposals to ban Muslims from entering the country and efforts to deport the undocumented.

"It's the approach the adminstration has taken since January of last year that threatens the veracity of the Census itself," she said.

A lower residency count could lead to a loss of up to two congressional seats for Illinois, as well as fewer dollars for everything from road projects, to educational programs and health initiatives.


With immigrant communities high in urban areas, some charge the policy is a Republican attempt to reduce the number of reliably Democratic seats in Congress.

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