Citizenship | KERA News

Citizenship

Associated Press

The U.S. Census Bureau is asking states for drivers' license records that typically include citizenship data and has made a new request for information on recipients of government assistance, alarming some civil rights advocates.

The children of some U.S. military members and government workers overseas will have a harder time getting citizenship under a Trump administration policy announced Wednesday.

The changes will affect a relatively small number of people. But the announcement touched off widespread confusion and outrage — with immigrant and veterans' advocates questioning why the administration would change the rules for people who are serving their country.

Editor's note: This story originally identified the 2020 census questionnaires for American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands as Census Bureau forms that include a question about U.S. citizenship status.

Updated at 6:55 p.m. ET

President Trump announced Thursday he would sign an executive order to obtain data about the U.S. citizenship and noncitizenship status of everyone living in the United States.

In a Rose Garden ceremony, Trump said he would drop efforts to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census. Instead, his executive order will direct all U.S. agencies to provide the Department of Commerce all information they have on U.S. citizenship, noncitizenship and immigration status.

Associated Press

The Justice Department said Friday it will press its search for legal grounds to force the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census, hours after President Donald Trump said he is "very seriously" considering an executive order to get the question on the form.

The courts have yet to issue their final word on whether the Trump administration can add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

But starting Thursday, the Census Bureau is asking about a quarter-million households in the U.S. to fill out questionnaires that include the question, "Is this person a citizen of the United States?"

The forms are part of a last-minute, nine-week experiment the federal government is using to gauge how the public could react next year to census forms with the potential census question.

Yarik Molina (right, standing) was teaching assistant during the April 11, 2019, Spanish in the Community class at UNT Dallas. Before being a TA, Molina and his mom both took the class before passing their citizenship test.
Bill Zeeble / KERA News

This semester, University of North Texas at Dallas students have been teaching local Spanish speakers how to take the U.S. naturalization test. The crowded class keeps growing.

Early in the Trump administration, senior officials discussed bringing back a controversial question topic that has not been included in the census for all households since 1950 — U.S. citizenship status.

The policy idea became reality this March, when — against the recommendations of the Census Bureau — Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross used his authority over the census and approved plans to add the question, "Is this person a citizen of the United States?"

Updated 10:33 p.m. ET

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has temporarily blocked lower court orders for depositions by two senior Trump administration officials in the multiple lawsuits over the new question about U.S. citizenship status on the 2020 census.

Updated, September 21, 7:48 p.m. ET

A federal judge has ordered the Trump administration to make its main official behind the 2020 census citizenship question — Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross — available to testify out of court for the lawsuits over the hotly contested question.

Updated September 14

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and his staff prepared to embark on a legal fight that would take them to the highest court in the U.S. long before announcing the controversial decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

The line of immigrants applying to become U.S. citizens is becoming longer.

There has been a backlog of citizen applications for years. But the backlog has increased dramatically since President Trump took office. Immigrant advocates say this has become the Trump administration's "second wall."

On a recent workday evening, three immigrants sit in a small airless room in San Francisco for a free citizenship class. Their instructor, Samuel Bianco, dictates some key facts about American civics, slowly, so they can take notes.

A federal judge in Maryland is allowing a lawsuit over the hotly contested citizenship question on the 2020 census to proceed, bringing the total number of lawsuits judges have greenlighted despite the Trump administration's efforts to get them tossed out of court to five.

The legal fight over the controversial citizenship question on the 2020 census is likely to continue at San Francisco federal court.

"I believe the case will proceed," U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg said Friday during a hearing on whether to dismiss two of the lawsuits against the Census Bureau and the Commerce Department, which oversees the census.

The U.S. Army has halted the process of discharging immigrants who enlisted under a program designed to recruit people with critically needed skills.

Reports emerged in July that the Pentagon had canceled the enlistment contracts of dozens of these recruits.

"Effective immediately, you will suspend processing of all involuntary separation actions," says the memo from Marshall Williams, the acting assistant secretary of the Army for manpower and reserve affairs.

The program is known as Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest.

Months before the Justice Department submitted a formal request for a citizenship question, pressure to add one to the 2020 census was mounting from a powerful decision-maker behind the national head count: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

Updated at 2:05 p.m. ET

Editor's Note: This story contains a vulgar word.

A federal judge in Manhattan has ruled that the largest of the six lawsuits against the new citizenship question on the 2020 census can move forward in court.

The head of the U.S. Census Bureau says the controversy over a new question about U.S. citizenship on the 2020 census is complicating its preparations to conduct a national head count.

For the first time since 1950, the Census Bureau will ask all U.S. households about citizenship status, specifically, "Is this person a citizen of the United States?"

Updated on June 15

Why did Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the census, approve adding a hotly contested citizenship question to 2020 census forms?

Marjorie Kamys Cotera

The Mexican American Legislative Caucus and the Texas Senate Hispanic Caucus are suing the Trump administration in hopes of blocking the addition of a citizenship question to the once-a-decade census of every person living in the United States.

Updated 4:20 p.m. ET, May 18

The acting head of the Justice Department's civil rights division, John Gore, dodged questions from lawmakers Friday about why the department requested a controversial citizenship question to be added to 2020 census forms.

Updated on April 27

Incomplete questionnaires for the 2020 census, including those that leave the controversial citizenship question unanswered, will still be included in the upcoming U.S. head count, the Census Bureau's top official confirmed Wednesday to lawmakers.

The announcement of the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census questionnaire has launched calls for lawsuits, legislation and now multiple congressional hearings. In a letter written to the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which has oversight of the U.S.

Sen. Ted Cruz was notified Tuesday that he no longer has Canadian citizenship, something he automatically received because his parents were living in Canada when he was born. Cruz, a possible presidential candidate in 2016, filed papers to renounce his Canadian citizenship. He is a U.S. citizen because his mother is an American but the debate over whether he is "natural born" and qualified to be president may not be over.