A citizenship question on 2020 census would cost some states their congressional seats by Dudley Poston for the Conversation 3/19/19

2020 Census

AP Photo/Michelle R. Smith

A partisan battle is brewing over the 2020 census. In March 2018, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross instructed the U.S. Census Bureau to add a new question to the 2020 questionnaire, asking respondents whether they were citizens of the U.S.

This decision led to a host of legal challenges. Social scientists and many U.S. Census Bureau officials fear that the citizenship question could cause some immigrants, especially undocumented immigrants, not to fill out the questionnaire, out of they fear that the information could be used to arrest or deport them. A test run in Rhode Island suggests that this is likely.

The case has now reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which will decide by June whether the question may be added. A study I published on Feb. 25 with my former student, Amanda Baumle, now a professor of sociology at the University of Houston, found that adding the citizenship question will likely cause many million people to not respond to the census. That will reduce the official population of some states, leading to political and economic harm.

Jamaica leads in Richard Branson-backed plan for a Caribbean climate revolution by Masao Ashtine and Tom Rogers, 3/15/2019

Caribbean climate

Branson at a Climate-Smart Accelerator event. Photo Credit: Adrian Creary/Studiocraft, CC BY

After hurricanes Irma and Maria tore through the Caribbean in 2017, devastating dozens of islands – including billionaire Richard Branson’s private isle, Necker Island — Branson called for a “Caribbean Marshall Plan.”

He wanted world powers and global financial institutions to unite to protect the Caribbean against the effects of climate change. That hasn’t happened. So Branson and his government partners from 27 Caribbean countries hope that his celebrity, connections and billions will prod local politicians and the financial community to act.

In August 2018, at a star-studded event at the University of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica, Branson helped to launch the Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator, a US$1 billion effort to kick start a green energy revolution in the region.


Women International Day

Today, 740 million women make their living in the informal economy with limited access to social protection, public services and infrastructure that could increase their productivity and income security. One in three women are likely to face violence in their lifetimes, yet public services, urban planning and transport systems are rarely planned with women’s safety and mobility in mind, reports UN Women.

This year’s International Women’s Day puts innovation by women and girls, for women and girls, at the heart of efforts to remove barriers to gender equality, accelerate progress for women’s empowerment and improve social protection systems, infrastructure and access to public services to meet the needs of women and girls.

HRC 40: Accountability under attack in Guatemala by ISHR 3/21/19


The International Commission Against Impunity (CICIG) – created through an agreement between the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Government of Guatemala – has successfully held individuals in the highest positions of government to account. It has provided means to revitalize and strengthen the national judicial system. Government efforts to stop its work have been rejected by the Constitutional Court but its future in the country remains uncertain.

CICIG must be defended, said ISHR and the International Platform against Impunity in a statement delivered to the Human Rights Council. Attacks against CICIG are taking place in a context in which key achievements in strengthening the rule of law are threatened.

Amendments to the National Reconciliation Law, if passed, will lead to impunity for grave internationally recognized crimes, including genocide and torture. Convictions could be overturned and the important drive against impunity will be reversed. UN human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet has expressed deep concern about the initiative, noting:


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