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Poll: Two-Thirds of Voters Say Citizenship Question Should Be Allowed on Census

Naturalization ceremony in Los Angeles, Calif., in 2013. (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)

Two-thirds of voters support allowing the U.S. census to include a question about an individual’s citizenship status, disagreeing with the Supreme Court’s decision to block the question.

In a Harvard CAPS/Harris poll released Tuesday, 67 percent of respondents said the question, “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” should be allowed on the census. That number included about 88 percent of Republicans, 52 percent of Democrats, and 63 percent of independents agreed.

“The public here agrees with the administration that it makes sense to ask citizenship on the census,” said poll director Mark Penn. “It is a clear supermajority of Americans on this issue.”

The question has become a contentious issue because of its implications for undocumented immigrants, who may not want to reveal their citizenship statusfor fear of potential repercussions. Last week, the Supreme Court shot down the Trump administration’s push to include the question in the 2020 census, temporarily prohibiting the question’s inclusion while requesting that the Commerce Department explain in more detail why it is necessary. The administration said the question would enhance the enforcement of part of the Voting Rights Act.

President Trump has floated delaying the 2020 census until the issue has been resolved.

“Seems totally ridiculous that our government, and indeed Country, cannot ask a basic question of Citizenship in a very expensive, detailed and important Census, in this case for 2020,” Trump wrote on Twitter after the Court’s decision. “I have asked the lawyers if they can delay the Census, no matter how long, until the United States Supreme Court is given additional information from which it can make a final and decisive decision on this very critical matter.”

“I think it’s very important to find out if somebody is a citizen as opposed to an illegal,” the president said on Monday.

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