Meng Hails Decision to Not Include Citizenship Question on 2020 Census
Jul 2, 2019
Congresswoman led fight against it
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies which funds the U.S. Census Bureau, today issued the following statement on the Trump administration’s decision to not include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.
“The Trump administration abandoning its crusade to add a citizenship question is outstanding news, and it’s a huge victory in my efforts to stop this question from being added to the 2020 Census. I am proud to have led the fight against it in Congress, and I thank all the immigration activists, immigration advocacy organizations, and other stakeholders who partnered with me in this effort.
The U.S. Constitution is crystal clear: it requires the census to count everybody in the country, not just citizens. The tortuous path to this conclusion was littered with lies, obfuscation, and obstruction from the administration, including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross lying straight to my face about the origins of the question.
The plan to ask respondents if they are citizens was never about ‘protecting’ minority voting rights. It was about depressing response rates in immigrant communities in order to skew the census in favor of the GOP. Since the fate of the citizenship question has now been decided, the fate of those who sought to add it should be investigated to uncover their intentions, and I will continue to call for a probe of Secretary Ross.
While we have much to celebrate today, our work isn’t over. We must now do all we can to ensure a complete and accurate census count. There must be as much outreach as possible, and it must be done as early as possible, to help ensure that everybody knows the importance of participating in the census. I cannot stress enough how critical it is for everyone to fill out the census. It is vital, and the importance of having accurate and reliable census data is something that cannot be overstated. There are no do-overs with the census; a mistake is a 10-year mistake.”
Since early last year, Meng has led the charge in Congress against the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. She has continuously spoken out against adding the question, authored an op-ed on the issue, and has stood with immigration activists and immigration advocacy organizations to publically oppose it. She also secured $8.45 billion in the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill for outreach efforts by the Census Bureau. During an Appropriations Subcommittee hearing in March 2018, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross lied to Meng when she asked him if the President or anybody in the White House spoke to him or his team about adding the citizenship question. He said he was not aware of any discussions, but then a court filing later revealed that the Secretary did talk about the issue with the White House’s then-Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.