Menendez, Booker, Hirono, Schumer Reintroduce Bill to Prevent Trump Administration from Politicizing Census with Citizenship Question

Menendez, Booker, Hirono, Schumer Reintroduce Bill to Prevent Trump Administration from Politicizing Census with Citizenship Question

 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez, Cory Booker (both D-N.J.) Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii)
and Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) today reintroduced legislation to prohibit the Secretary of Commerce from including any question regarding one’s citizenship or immigration status on the U.S. census. The Every Person Counts Act (S. 201) also amends Title XIII of the United States Code to clarify that each decennial census shall tabulate the total number of persons in each state.

Last week, a U.S. District Judge ordered the administration to abort its plans to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.  However, with a June deadline to print the final census questionnaire, the administration is now pressuring the Supreme Court to review this case and decide whether a question about citizenship can be included on next year’s census survey.

“There is no need to continue wasting American tax payer dollars in costly legal battles. Congress should act now and put an end to this charade created by the Trump Administration. The U.S. census is not a tool to rally the President’s base.  It is meant to be an unvarnished, accurate headcount of every single individual living each state for the purposes of allocating federal resources to address public health, education, and national security among others, and to determine Congressional apportionment,” said Sen. Menendez.  “This administration’s anti-immigrant agenda should not take over a constitutionally mandated count of every person living in the country.  I will continue fight against this nonsense proposal to stoke fear and force immigrants into the shadows, and push legislation to address this urgent situation to ensure we get an accurate census.”

“The administration’s ongoing effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census is part of a concerted effort to cater to the anti-immigrant base and foment fear espoused by President Trump,” Sen. Hirono said. “Our legislation recognizes the important role Census data plays in informing decisions with far-reaching implications, including on government services, allocation of resources, and redistricting. By prohibiting the inclusion of unnecessary, politically-motivated questions that would reduce participation by immigrants and people of color, our bill will help to keep the Census non-partisan and ensure that everyone is counted, as required by the Constitution.”

“The U.S. census is a constitutionally-mandated count of every single person in this country. It must be fair, accurate, and nonpartisan,” said Sen. Booker. Adding a citizenship question to the census is a sinister attempt to suppress participation and undercount immigrants, thereby short-changing the fair apportionment of resources and political representation. This bill will protect the census from such cynical ploys.”

The point of the American Census is to methodically and scientifically count all those who are in this nation, not to purposely intimidate and scare people from participating. The stakes could not be higher for our cities and states, which rely on the Census to set the levels at which they receive vital federal aid on countless programs that help our transportation, housing, social services and infrastructure” said Senate Democratic Leader Schumer. “I’m proud to support this critical legislation that will protect the U.S. Census from being subverted by the Trump administration for political purposes and make sure that everyone is counted.”

The bill is also co-sponsored by Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). 

The Census Bureau must, by law, provide Congress with the final wording of the census questionnaire by March 31.

The Every Person Counts Act would:

  • Require Title XIII of the United States Code to be amended to clarify that each decennial census shall tabulate the total number of persons in each state;
  • Prohibit the Secretary of Commerce from including a U.S. citizenship or immigration status question on the census;
  • Forbid the construction of any rule that would permit or require the census to exclude populations due to their age, or federal employees and their dependents, and Armed Services personnel stationed abroad, stationed abroad, or other persons outside the United States from being counted as residents of the states to which they usually reside.

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