The debate over whether or not to include a citizenship question on the 2020 U.S. census has become the latest division in American politics, but a similar question has been included on Canada’s census for more than a century.
On Saturday, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported that America’s neighbor to the north has included a citizenship question on its census since 1901.
CBC notes that Canada’s long-form census asks: “Of what country is this person a citizen?” Respondents can select three possible answers, including: “Canada, by birth,” “Canada, by naturalization,” or “Other country – specify.”
“The citizenship question has a long history on the Canadian census, being introduced for the first time on the 1901 census,” Emily Theelen, a spokeswoman for Statistics Canada, told CBC.
“This information is used to estimate the number of potential voters and to plan citizenship classes and programs,” Theelen added. “It also provides information about the population with multiple citizenships and the number of immigrants in Canada who hold Canadian citizenship.”
Canada conducts its census every five years, while the U.S. census occurs every 10 years.
Immigration lawyer Lorne Waldman said there’s no evidence that census information has been abused for immigration-enforcement purposes in Canada.
“The news reports about the Department of Commerce dropping its quest to put the citizenship question on the census is incorrect or, to state it differently, FAKE! We are absolutely moving forward, as we must, because of the importance of the answer to this question,” President Donald Trump recently wrote on Twitter.
The News Reports about the Department of Commerce dropping its quest to put the Citizenship Question on the Census is incorrect or, to state it differently, FAKE! We are absolutely moving forward, as we must, because of the importance of the answer to this question.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 3, 2019
“So important for our country that the very simple and basic ‘Are you a citizen of the United States?’ question be allowed to be asked in the 2020 census,” he added. “Department of Commerce and Department of Justice are working very hard on this, even on the 4th of July.”
So important for our Country that the very simple and basic “Are you a Citizen of the United States?” question be allowed to be asked in the 2020 Census. Department of Commerce and the Department of Justice are working very hard on this, even on the 4th of July!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 4, 2019
– – –