Democrats attack Ross on citizenship question

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (March 14, 2019) — Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is denying Democrat accusations that he secretly orchestrated the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Ross testified before the House Oversight and Reform Committee in an often contentious hearing. He stuck with his explanation from previous hearings that Justice Department officials made a formal request to include the citizenship question to help it enforce the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The Census Bureau initiated a review to consider alternatives to DOJ's request. Ultimately, Ross determined in March 2018 that reinstating the question was warranted.

Some 18 states, 15 big cities or counties, and immigrants' rights groups have sued the Commerce Department. The plaintiffs say an undercount of Latinos and immigrants would jeopardize federal funding and congressional representation in states with a substantial number of both groups.

A citizenship question has not appeared on the once-in-a-decade headcount since 1950, though it has been on the American Community Survey, for which the Census Bureau annually polls 3.5 million households.

The Trump administration's decision to ask people about their citizenship has set off worries among Democrats that immigrants and their families will dodge the survey altogether, diluting political representation for states that tend to vote Democratic and robbing many communities of federal dollars.

Ross sought to emphasize that the Trump administration has boosted spending for the census and that it was using the money to increase its advertising budget and hire more community partners.

"We have done all kinds of things we can think of to make sure we have the best census possible," Ross said.

Republicans said it was completely appropriate to add the citizenship question to the census.

"For the life of me, I do not know why the Democrats don't want to know how many citizens are in the United States of America," said Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the ranking Republican. "But for some reason, they are focused on this question.

Some have suggested that Democrats don't want the citizenship question because they don't have a problem with non-citizens...including illegals.. voting.

 

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