President Trump is not giving up on including the citizenship question on the 2020 census despite what his own administration officials said.
The president declared Wednesday that reports about Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross dropping the question from the 2020 questionnaire being printed were “fake” and that his administration was “absolutely moving forward” with it, citing the “importance” of the question.
(Video: Fox News)
Rep. Andy Biggs explained that the issue was not about gathering meaningless statistics but about counting the number of citizens to determine congressional districts.
“You know what this is about,” the Arizona Republican told Fox News on Wednesday.
“In the Constitution itself, the reason that you take a census is not to find out how many toilets or stoves or refrigerators or TVs or cell phones you have,” he explained. “It’s to apportion the voters for congressional districts. That’s really what the census was all about.”
He noted the importance of knowing how many U.S. citizens there are and the consequences of counting those who are not living in the country legally.
“If you’re counting illegal aliens who are in this country, people who cannot vote because they’re here illegally, you are actually watering down the votes of people who are here legally,” he continued.
“California gets a disproportionate number of congressional seats and electoral votes for the president, than, say, Wisconsin that has far fewer illegal aliens in their population,” Biggs said, adding that it is really “a fairness issue” and the Trump administration is “fighting an uphill battle” due to the Supreme Court decision last week to block the addition of the question to the census.
A printing deadline caused the decision by Ross and administration officials to green light printing the forms without the question, but apparently, no one checked with Trump who fired off a tweet that sent government lawyers scrambling.
The News Reports about the Department of Commerce dropping its quest to put the Citizenship Question on the Census is incorrect or, to state it differently, FAKE! We are absolutely moving forward, as we must, because of the importance of the answer to this question.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 3, 2019
His tweet followed others on Tuesday that did not seem at first to contradict what the Department of Commerce had announced.
….to do whatever is necessary to bring this most vital of questions, and this very important case, to a successful conclusion. USA! USA! USA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 3, 2019
“We at the Department of Justice have been instructed to examine whether there is a path forward, consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision, that would allow us to include the citizenship question on the census,” Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt told a federal judge in Maryland after stating Tuesday that they had made a decision not to go ahead with the citizenship question, according to Reuters.
Update: Plaintiffs in the NY census citizenship Q case have asked the judge to immediately schedule a status conference to find out what the heck is going on re: Trump’s tweet today https://t.co/JpcZBFgQUn pic.twitter.com/DFivufAwGP
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) July 3, 2019
“As long as President Trump continues to try to add a citizenship question to the census, we will continue our work to expose the Trump administration’s true, corrupt motivations — including holding the administration in contempt of Congress on the census,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared after the president’s tweet.
The Supreme Court found that the administration’s reasoning for including the question was “contrived” but allowed officials to explain the thinking behind the need.
According to Reuters:
Critics have called the citizenship question a Republican ploy to scare immigrants into not taking part in the census and engineer a population undercount in Democratic-leaning areas with high immigrant and Latino populations. That would benefit non-Hispanic whites and help Trump’s fellow Republicans gain seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislatures when new electoral district boundaries are drawn after the census, the critics said.
“Another day, another attempt to sow chaos and confusion,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said Wednesday. “The Supreme Court of the United States has spoken, and Trump’s own Commerce Department has spoken. It’s time to move forward to ensure every person in the country is counted.”
Rep. Mark Meadows defended the president as “absolutely right” in his efforts to add the citizenship question to the census, something that hasn’t occurred since the 1950 census.
.@realdonaldtrump is absolutely right to renew a push for adding the citizenship question to the 2020 census, consistent with the law and SCOTUS reasoning. Every legal option should be pursued so that our country can know how many American citizens live in America.
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) July 3, 2019
And a recent survey found that the majority of Americans support the citizenship question.
According to a Harvard CAPS/Harris poll released on Tuesday, 67 percent of voters side with Trump on asking U.S. residents if they are citizens, with 88 percent of Republicans, 52 percent of Democrats and 63 percent of independent voters agreeing that the citizenship question should be included in the 2020 census, according to Breitbart News.
“Most Americans want an accurate count of how many citizens are in our country. The citizenship question shouldn’t be a partisan issue – it’s a matter of simply knowing who is in America,” Georgia Republican Rep. Jody Hice told Breitbart News. “The Court’s disappointing ruling has stalled the process for now, but I believe the question is necessary.”
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