Action Alert - Act Now to Block Census Citizenship Question

Friday, June 8, 2018


 The Commerce Department today published notice that it is opening the 60 day public comment period to learn about the potential impact of adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. Responding during this comment period is key to our efforts to STOP inclusion of the citizenship question.  This is an advocacy action step we need you to take.

Here's the strategy:  (1) Drive up the numbers.  Get as many people to respond with comments as possible. (2) Create a public record to have an impact on litigation opposing the inclusion of a citizenship question which is  probably our best option to stop this action.  (3) Demonstrate there is a strong public voice that opposes this Trump Administration action on the census. 


These are the actions you can take:

Step One:     Prepare your response and submit it. 

Step Two:     Post on social media to encourage others to do the same and/or send an email action alert to your network. See action alert template provided at the bottom of this post. 

Step Three:  Figure out what your organization can do. Hopefully that means joining sign-on letters AND submitting an individual comment on behalf of the organization. See organizational comment template at the bottom of this post.

Step Four:    Send us a copy of your comment or your organization's comment if you are comfortable with us posting it on our website as a sample others can draw from.

Step Five:    Sign up to be part of the Minnesota Census Mobilization Partnership so you will get updates about what's happening, generally, with the 2020 Census, but also what more you can do in the coming 60 days to stop the citizenship question.  Web | Facebook | Twitter.


1. Clearly state your opposition to the Commerce Secretary's recommendation.

2. Describe why you oppose the recommendation.  It can be one reason or several.  It can be based on what you know from your experience or researched facts. See some sample talking points at the bottom of this post. 

3. Include your contact information. (See information below about public publication of responses.)


1. Any person or organization can submit a comment. 

2. THIS IS NOT LOBBYING!!!!   You are sharing your knowledge, experience or opinion about an administrative action.  (A note to private foundations:  You can submit comments on administrative action.  This is not lobbying.  Contact us if you have questions and we will provide you with a legal briefing about how to take this action.)

3. Read about how to prepare a statement.

4. Some people have stepped up to volunteer to help.  Let us know if you need help preparing your comments.

5. Read about the citizenship question:

- MCF Policy in Focus - Census Funding and Citizenship Question; Oversight Hearing on Citizenship Question Census Primer; Full Story on Citizenship Question; Lawsuits

- NYT - Documents Show Political Lobbying on Citizenship Question

- NPR - Documents Shed Light on Decision to Add Census Citizenship Question

- Leadership Conference


By Mail:  Jennifer Jessup, Department Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce Rm 6612, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230

By E-mail:

By Web:  Federal e-Rulemaking Portal

You can submit attachments to electronic comments in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect or Adobe PDF formats only.

Notice About Confidentiality:

Your statements will not be confidential!!!  All comments are part of the public record.  Comments will be published AFTER the public comment period closes in August. All personally identifiable information (for example, name and address) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential or otherwise sensitive or protected information. 

If you have concerns about confidentiality, for example you do not want the information misused so others can take action against you, we recommend that you submit your comments anonymously and only by mail (careful not to include return address or other personal contact information). You may want to also include in you comments why you are making your submission anonymously -- it kind of makes the case for why the addition of the citizenship question is a problem.

This is an evolving situation.  More research and opportunities to engage through the comments process will come up in the coming days and weeks.  Keep any eye on Policy in Focus and get onto the Minnesota Census Mobilization Partnership e-newsletter  mailing list, connect through Facebook and follow us on Twitter. 

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