Brooks: Census Citizenship Question Not a Big Deal ‘In Normal Times,’ But Today, ‘It Strikes Me as a Menacing Question’

On Friday’s “PBS NewsHour,” New York Times columnist David Brooks argued that asking about citizenship on the Census doesn’t seem unusual “In normal times,” but “given the climate, it strikes me as a menacing question and probably a counterproductive one.”

Brooks said, “In normal times, frankly, it doesn’t strike me as an odd question to ask, are you a citizen? And, historically, the Census has asked that question.”

He continued, “But in the atmosphere of fear that surrounds immigration these days, with ICE behaving as they are, and with the administration really threatening in some occasions to kick citizens out, or kick noncitizens out, what you’re doing, you’re — this comes at the end of that, in that climate. And in that — and given that climate, asking this question, making this policy shift now, can only be interpreted as a way to get people not to answer the question. … And if you’re scaring people away from participating in the Census, then that jurisdiction will get less money. And so, given the climate, it strikes me as a menacing question and probably a counterproductive one.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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