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The Trump administration has added a new question to the 2020 census and controversy has sparked. The question will inquire as to whether or not people are American citizens, a question that has not been used since 1950. The administration has defended this addition by saying the question will help the government decide how to allocate its resources and can help create laws that will alleviate discrimination. However, some have argued against it.

Both California and New York have plans to block this question, arguing that it will dissuade immigrants from taking part in the census. They also say it will result in  inaccurate information as many people will not participate.

The census takes place every 10 years in the U.S. and the data is used to distribute funds, as well as create districts for local and state elections. The data is extremely important, as it provides information and statistics on the American people, all of which illustrate what parts of the country need the most help.

Critics of the move have said that the Republican administration wishes to gain power over the legislative maps and funding. If only similar demographics of the U.S. participate in the census, many others could be left vulnerable and undetected.

The president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has said this question has shown “xenophobic and anti-immigrant policy positions from [the Trump] administration”. The California Attorney General has argued the question is unconstitutional and the New York Attorney General has said the question would “create an environment of fear and distrust in immigrant communities”.

The U.S. Department of Commerce has until the end of March to submit the final list of questions for the 2020 census.

Difficult words

Census: A list questions for a country’s citizens by the government

Controversy: A severe disagreement by many people

Inquire: Something asked

Allocate: To be given for a certain purpose

Alleviate: To make something less

Dissuade: To persuade someone from not doing something

Illustrate: To show

Vulnerable: Something that can be easily hurt or in danger

Xenophobic: Not liking someone because they are from a certain country

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

British English:

American English:

Match the Synonym!

1. Census A. Arguments
2. Controversy B. Assign
3. Inquire C. Questions
4. Allocate D. Discourage
5. Alleviate E. Show
6. Dissuade F. Survey
7. Illustrate G. Weak
8. Vulnerable H. Prejudice
9. Xenophobic I.  Lessen

True or False?

1. There is controversy between the states after a new census question. T / F

2. The question will ask if someone is a U.K. citizen or not. T / F

3. Republicans support this question. T / F

4. The census takes place every 10 years. T / F

5. No states believe that this question will dissuade people from participating in the census. T / F

6.  The New York Attorney general supports this new question.  T / F

7. The question has never been used before. T / F

8. Someone said this question makes the Trump administration seem xenophobic. T / F

9.  The final questions will be submitted by the end of May. T / F

10. The census helps decide where to allocate government funds. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. added / question / census / administration / The / the / new / Trump / a / to / has / 2020

2. or / not / inquire / as / whether / to / citizens / American / The / are / people / question / will

3. They / it / will / result / / inaccurate / say / in / information / also

4. defended / addition / The / has / this / administration

5. others / and / left / Many / vulnerable / could / undetected / be

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

British English:

American English:

 Dissuade  Funding Census
 Districts  Submit  Distribute
 Communities  Inquire  Positions

The Trump administration has added a new question to the 2020 ___________ and controversy has sparked. The question will __________ as to whether or not people are American citizens, a question that has not been used since 1950. The administration has defended this addition by saying the question will help the government decide how to allocate its resources and can help create laws that will alleviate discrimination. However, some have argued against it.

Both California and New York have plans to block this question, arguing that it will ____________ immigrants from taking part in the census. They also say it will result in  inaccurate information as many people will not participate.

The census takes place every 10 years in the U.S. and the data is used to ____________ funds, as well as create _____________ for local and state elections. The data is extremely important, as it provides information and statistics on the American people, all of which illustrate what parts of the country need the most help.

Critics of the move have said that the Republican administration wishes to gain power over the legislative maps and _____________. If only similar demographics of the U.S. participate in the census, many others could be left vulnerable and undetected.

The president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has said this question has shown “xenophobic and anti-immigrant policy ____________ from [the Trump] administration”. The California Attorney General has argued the question is unconstitutional and the New York Attorney General has said the question would “create an environment of fear and distrust in immigrant _____________”.

The U.S. Department of Commerce has until the end of March to ____________ the final list of questions for the 2020 census.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. Is immigration a problem in your country?
4. How do people in your country feel towards immigrants?
5. Would you ever move to another country?
6. Do you think the Trump administration is discriminating against immigrants?
7. What is the best way to control immigration?
8. Should more countries have open borders like the EU?
9. What are the benefits to immigration?
10. What are the negatives to immigration?
11. Is it right to ask this kind of question in an official census?
12. Do you think there is another reason that the US government wants to ask this question?
13. Is there a better way for governments to collect information than a census?
14. Is it illegal to not participate in the census in your country?
15. Are there any questions that you wouldn’t want to answer on a census?
16. Do you think all governments can be trusted with census information?
17. Should census information be anonymous?
18. Are there any questions you would add to a census?
19. Is a census still relevant today?
20. Would you like to be in charge of writing the census questions?