ACLU of RI executive director Steven Brown issued the following statement today in response to the inclusion of a question about citizenship status in the 2020 census:

"The Census Bureau’s decision to add a question about citizenship status to the 2020 census has already generated a tremendous amount of confusion and fear.  At the same time as this announcement, Providence County residents started receiving notice that the Census field test was happening here, and that they would be required to respond.  Our office was inundated with calls from anxious individuals who were concerned about having to answer that question, unaware that the citizenship question doesn’t even appear on the 2018 test form. The fear and confusion that was evident from those callers is a troubling harbinger of what we know the 2020 census will bring if this question is not eliminated. A thorough and accurate census is essential to a properly functioning democracy, and it is mandated by the Constitution of the United States.  The federal government's actions will only serve to scare people away from participating, undermining this critical tool. We commend Mayor Diossa and other government officials for their work trying to overturn this harmful addition to the census."