August 3, 2018 (Washington, DC) – As the deadline to submit public comments approaches on August 7th, the Sikh Coalition encourages Sikhs to speak out against the addition of a citizenship status question to the 2020 Census. The last time the U.S. government asked people about their citizenship on the Census, the information was used to identify and force Japanese-Americans into internment camps in the 1940s. This question was added in haste and deters individuals from responding out of fear as to how this data could be used.
The deadline to share a comment on the citizenship question is this Tuesday, August 7th. Submit your input today.
“This politically driven citizenship question compromises the Census Bureau’s constitutional responsibility to conduct a fair and accurate count of every person living in the United States,” said Senior Manager of Policy & Advocacy Sim J. Singh. “Getting the 2020 Census right is important for all
communities in America – particularly those most likely to be undercounted.”
The Census Bureau has conducted careful, costly research and testing over the last eight years to develop each census question. As a process intended to simply and literally count each person living in the U.S., the Census determines more than $800 billion in federal funding to states for education, infrastructure, hospitals, parks, public benefits, and so much more. An undercount due to fear of answering the citizenship question will have devastating economic consequences. Businesses and entrepreneurs use census data to make critical decisions about where to locate facilities and stores, hiring, and customer needs. Our communities may be vulnerable to marginalization through undercounting and would be stalked by low counts for the next 10 years.
The public comment period
, which ends August 7th, 2018
, provides an opportunity for you to oppose the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
Take Action before August 7th, 2018
1. Share a comment opposing the citizenship question through our website
. Use the following sample comment or create your own.
I strongly urge the Commerce Department to remove the citizenship question from the 2020 Census form. Including an untested, controversial question will undermine the quality and accuracy of the census in every community. For Sikh Americans our communities are already vulnerable to being undercounted. The political climate has created a feeling of fear and unease in every community. I’m worried that adding a question about citizenship status sends the message that individuals documented or undocumented, are being counted and tracked – a message that will undoubtedly sway many in our communities to fail to respond to the survey.
The Census Bureau's own Chief Scientist warned of lower response, higher costs, and a less accurate census if the citizenship question is included. Including a citizenship question puts the census at grave risk of a significant undercount, especially among hard-to-reach population groups that are already fearful of answering government surveys, according to the bureau's own research. The public should not be asked to answer, or pay for, a census that does not meet scientifically sound standards, in order to achieve partisan, political goals. The addition of this question is a blatant attempt to undermine the 2020 Census – this decision is bad for the census, bad for our communities, and bad for America.
2. Amplify on social media – Use sample messages and the hashtag #SaveTheCensus to oppose the citizenship question and encourage others to submit comments as well.
Sample Social Media Messages
- A fair and accurate #2020Census is essential for basic functions of our society, but an untested citizenship question would jeopardize the accuracy of census data for ALL communities. #SaveTheCensus Deadline to share a comment is August 7. bit.ly/2020-Census-Comment.
- The #2020Census citizenship question is untimely, unnecessary, and untested – and you have the power to speak out against it. #SaveTheCensus – Submit a public comment now. Censuscounts.org. bit.ly/2020-Census-Comment.
As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.