You will not find a citizenship question on the 2020 census forms. But in the months since federal courts permanently blocked the Trump administration from asking the hotly-contested question for this year’s national head count, the administration has been pushing ahead with a backup plan — amassing government records to try to determine the U.S. citizenship status of every adult living in the country.
Information from the U.S. Army, federal prisons and the Department of the Interior’s law enforcement system are among the newly disclosed batch of records the Census Bureau says it is using to comply with President Trump’s executive order for citizenship data, according to a memo the bureau quietly posted on its website earlier this month. Put together, these records could be used to yield data that could radically change political mapmaking and shift the balance of political power across the U.S. over the next decade.
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