Introduction of the Ensuring Full Participation in the Census Act of 2022

Floor Speech

Date: May 17, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Ms. NORTON. Madam Speaker, today, I introduce the Ensuring Full Participation in the Census Act of 2022, which would prohibit the U.S. Census Bureau (Bureau) from including questions on the decennial census about citizenship, nationality or immigration status.

This bill is essential because, prior to the 2020 census, the Department of Justice wrote to the Bureau requesting that it ``reinstate on the 2020 [c]ensus questionnaire a question regarding citizenship.'' From 1970-2000, this question was sent to only approximately 16 percent of the population during any decennial census through the so-called ``long-form.'' However, the long-form system was dropped from the census and replaced with the current American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS is sent to approximately 3 million people annually on a rotational basis, and allows the Bureau to get the necessary information on citizenship. Asking questions about citizenship status to every person through the decennial census has not been done in almost 70 years because it would discourage people, largely minorities, who are already undercounted in the census, from participating in the census. The ACS was created to make the decennial census simpler for people to complete, which facilitates higher and more accurate participation rates and preserving privacy.

Fortunately, after a protracted legal and political process, the citizenship question was not included on the 2020 census. However, this legislation is necessary to ensure it cannot be asked on a future census. The representative sampling provided by the ACS is more than sufficient to determine citizenship statistics in the U.S. We must ensure that all individuals are counted in the decennial census, thereby providing accurate allocation of federal funds and representation in Congress, and not reduce participation by asking a question that is already asked elsewhere.

I strongly urge my colleagues to support this bill.