In this photo taken March 16, 2017, Hussein Dabajeh, 30, a lifelong Dearborn, Mich. resident who owns a hookah shop and lounge, said his ancestors first came to the U.S. from what’s now Lebanon in 1911. (AP Photo/Jeff Karoub)
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Zahraa Ballout isn't "white," and she certainly isn't "some other race". If the government gives her the choice of checking a new "Middle East/North Africa" box on a census form, would she? Yes, she says, despite some reservations about what it would mean to stand out after Americans elected a president who wants to ban travel from some countries in the region and has spoken favorably of registering Muslims in the U.S.The Census Bureau on Feb. 28 for the first time recommended including the new category, which would mostly affect Muslims.Including the separate category, the agency said, is "optimal" to get a more accurate count of Americans.The Arab American Institute estimates as many as 3.7 million people in the United States have Arab roots. The Census Bureau estimates there are 1.8 million Arab Americans in the U.S., according to data it has collected. Both support the new box on the 2020 census that would represent people with backgrounds from 19 countries in the region.
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