Posted on December 3, 2018
Democrats take aim at census citizenship question in spending fight
BREAKING: As promised, news for #2020Census nerds: Dems seek to use #SpendingBill to nix #citizenshipquestion, say @SenatorSerrano and @RepDerekKilmer. But sources say a deal may mean compromise on issue immigration grps loathe even more than the Cit. Q… https://t.co/l8ztQkCLqN
— Nick Brown (@NickPBrown) November 29, 2018
Democrats hope to use urgent government funding talks underway in the U.S. Congress to reach a deal with Republicans that would remove the controversial question on citizenship from the 2020 census. The citizenship question “should be removed … and I believe all options should be on the table in Congress to do so, including through the appropriations process,” Representative Jose Serrano of New York said.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in March announced plans to ask respondents to the 2020 census whether they are U.S. citizens, drawing immediate ire from activist groups who say the question will frighten immigrants into abstaining from the count. A host of states, cities, and activists have since sued the government to have the question removed and the case is likely to wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court. Time is short because the U.S. Census Bureau needs to print census forms by the spring of 2019.
Democrats see the appropriations fight as a chance to bargain for language to prevent the Commerce Department from using funds to gather citizenship data in the census. Steven Choi, executive director at the New York Immigration Coalition, said activists should try to persuade Republicans the question is bad for them, too. “So many things that depend on the census cannot be allocated if you don’t get the census right,” said Choi, who has actively opposed the citizenship question.