The Tulane Hullabaloo

Trump’s 2020 census proposals threaten to underrepresent LGBTQ+, minority groups

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The U.S. census is administered every 10 years as a means of measuring the population of the country and the demographics of the people who live here. It has generally been apolitical, and politicians typically try to update it every few years to better represent the country as a whole and improve its accuracy. That is, until recently.

The Trump administration has taken a different approach to the 2020 census, opting instead to completely omit questions about LGBTQ+ people while also adding questions about citizenship. Not only will these decisions be detrimental to the census in its accuracy and descriptive powers, but they will also reverse progress.

Trump’s decision to include questions about citizenship is seen by some as a way of helping clamp down on illegal immigrants, a known objective of the president. According to many experts, however, this action is more likely to decrease immigrant response than to increase deportation of undocumented immigrants. This will hamper the accuracy of the census, which in turn inhibits the ability of Congress to pass meaningful legislation due to biased data.

The president justified this plan in the name of “voter safety,” referencing again the “millions of illegal voters” that cost him the popular vote back in 2016. Trump has chosen to just repeat his greatest hits without giving any meaningful explanations.

In response to his decision to add citizenship questions, 12 states have lawsuits against the Trump administration, citing the illegality of “weaponizing the census.” The arbitrary changing of the census will lead to the “unconstitutional and unlawful loss of representation in the United States House of Representatives and millions of dollars of federal funds,” the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law wrote.

While groups of lawyers are fighting to keep this aspect of the census the same, other organizations like the International Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans and Intersex Association are fighting to change the census to become more inclusive to non-heterosexual individuals. They argue that the decision to only include same-sex couples still overlooks a large portion of the estimated 10 million people that identify as LGBTQ+.

This came as a bit of a shock considering a question on LGBTQ+ individuals was initially added back in March of last year, but he has clearly changed his mind. If not his mind, at least whoever is in charge of watching him during executive time. The only thing that is unclear is whether this decision was a tactical move to undermine a minority and divert attention off of Russia or if he never knew what LGBTQ+ actually meant and Vice President Mike Pence had to explain it was not a question about deli food.

President Donald Trump is consistently inconsistent, both in reference to the census and his presidency as a whole. On one hand, he thinks it needs to change in order to better protect the country from those undocumented immigrants, while on the other hand, he seems to follow the adage of every racist old guy of “let’s keep things the same.” Hopefully, his tendency to harm marginalized communities will not affect this formerly apolitical tradition and will be overpowered by his incompetence.

This is an opinion article and does not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo. Jonathan is a sophomore at Newcomb-Tulane College. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans
Trump’s 2020 census proposals threaten to underrepresent LGBTQ+, minority groups