Eighteen House Republicans urged the Trump administration to move forward with adding a question about citizenship to the 2020 census in a letter sent to Attorney General William Barr late Wednesday afternoon.
NEW: 18 House Rs pen letter urging admin to add citizenship question to 2020 census: "Despite claims to the contrary, citizenship is unquestionably germane to carrying out our duty to apportion representatives…The question should be included, a majority of Americans agree." pic.twitter.com/PAgy9ov1DA
— Nate Madden (@NateOnTheHill) July 10, 2019
“As members of Congress we can say say unequivocally that we support inclusion of such a question and that it is critical that the President do so as quickly as possible as we prepare for the coming census,” the signatories write.
“From our vantage point in Congress, there are numerous important reasons to include the question on the census, of which the President clearly is aware,” the letter adds. “Those reasons range from determining appropriations levels for states and localities and having data for states to make decisions on ballot box placement, to collection of data for purposes of understanding the impact of immigration (legal and illegal) on communities, as well as obviously impacting apportionment and re-districting.”
The 18 signatories to Wednesday’s letters include prominent House conservatives like Reps. Jim Jordan, Ohio; Jody Hice, Georgia; Chip Roy, Texas; Louie Gohmert, Texas; and Andy Biggs, Arizona.
Whether or not the 2020 census will have a question about participants’ citizenship remains to be seen. The Supreme Court said the administration has the right to ask the question but also remanded the case down to the lower courts. Meanwhile, the administration has been looking at options to get around the ruling, and Barr recently told reporters that his team has found a legal workaround but didn’t go into details.
Congressional Democrats have voiced outspoken opposition to the idea of a citizenship question. For example, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., recently said that the question was part of an effort to “make America white again,” despite the fact that race has nothing to do with American citizenship.
“Despite claims to the contrary, citizenship is unquestionably germane to carrying out our duty to apportion representatives,” the congressmen continue. They also contend that “the 14th Amendment demands that we take into account citizenship in allocation of representation” and, as a result, “the administration arguably is required to capture the citizenship information.”
“The question should be included,” the letter concludes, “a majority of Americans agree, and the President would be correct to include the question with a new rationale in light of the Supreme Court’s decision.”