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Democrats have a lot to worry about over Census question

Democrats have a lot to worry about over Census question

The U.S. Citizenship question is provoking fear among Democratic elected officials, who worry that because of its inclusion on the census questionnaire, some immigrants may decline to participate.

Census information is not supposed to be shared with other parts of the government, but the Trump administration has said that all undocumented immigrants are subject to deportation, leading many to say they do not trust what the government will do with their information.

Immigrants or children of immigrants make up nearly 60 percent of the city’s population, and the ripple effect could be powerful. Officials are concerned that could lead to an inaccurate population count in New York.

“People have identified this as an immigrant problem, and that’s really not accurate,” said Joseph J. Salvo, the chief demographer for the Department of City Planning.

The city’s education department comes to him for the data it uses to redraw school zones, he said, as does the health department when it needs to understand illness rates. Businesses use federal information to determine whether to open in underserved neighborhoods.

There are now 3.2 million foreign-born people in New York City, out of 8.6 million residents. Of those foreign-born, 46 percent are noncitizens, Mr. Salvo said. Mr. Salvo estimates that 500,000 are undocumented.

“Those immigrants are side by side with children who are citizens, with an uncle who is a legal permanent resident, with the cousin who is undocumented. All of those people are afraid,” Mr. Salvo said.

The Trump administration said on Monday that the question on citizenship would be added to the census, saying it would enable the Justice Department to accurately measure the portion of the population eligible to vote.

Read more: New York Has 7 Billion Reasons to Worry About a Census Question

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