Op Ed- "Ten Years Is A Long Time Making Choices Based On Flawed Info"
Thursday, April 5, 2018 at 2:06PM
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By DUWAYNE GREGORY

The addition of a question on the 2020 census relating to citizenship status is chilling in its simplistic attempt to suppress the political influence of Latinos and racially diverse communities by intimidating immigrants and their families.

Allowed to move forward, it will accomplish what it is designed to do: instill fear in immigrant communities across Long Island and reduce response rates among this vulnerable population.

The provocative addition of this question, in a climate of intimidation advanced by the President and his administration, will force immigrants into the shadows and disproportionately impact representation and federal funding for things like Medicaid and infrastructure across the country and specifically on Long Island where Hispanics and Latinos make up an estimated 17% of the population in Suffolk and 15% in Nassau. 

The consequences of under-counting our country’s population, especially in areas like Long Island could create a disadvantage in representation in the House and create a disparity in distribution of the $600 billion plus in federal funding. 

The administration’s argument that it will help with protecting minority voting rights is disingenuous since the government already collects data that can be used to assist with enforcement. In addition, non-citizens are prohibited from voting and there has been no evidence that the fabricated stories that millions of illegals voted in the 2016 election are true. 

Immigrants are however, guaranteed representation in the House and by under-counting them they – along with others in areas where they are under-counted – would lose that representation. 

As of now 16 states and the District of Columbia have filed lawsuits against President Trump and the Department of Commerce, with New York leading the multi-state action to block the citizenship question from being included on the 2020 census. The lawsuit notes that the 2010 census failed to include more than 1.5 million minorities. 

We must not allow the exclusion of a significant portion of this country’s population to go uncounted. As Americans we have an obligation to demand a complete and accurate accounting. Anything less could have far reaching implications that would alter essential information impacting everything from political representation to key demographic data used by business and government and localities in their decision-making. 

Ten years is a long time to be making choices based on flawed information. 

DuWayne Gregory is Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer

Article originally appeared on Smithtown Matters - Online Local News about Smithtown, Kings Park, St James, Nesconset, Commack, Hauppauge, Ft. Salonga (http://www.smithtownmatters.com/).
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