On Wednesday, it was reported that Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) said her mother, whom she said has been a United States citizen for roughly 42 years, might not answer the 2020 census question asking whether she is a United States citizen:
The census, which is taken every ten years to determine how to apportion seats for Congress, again has the citizenship question on it; the question was on the census from 1820 through 1950. On Wednesday, the House Oversight and Reform Committee voted 24 to 15 to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for ignoring subpoenas for documents about the question that was reposted on the census. Democrats are complaining that the question discourages voters from participating in the census.
President Trump asserted executive privilege so documents listed in the subpoenas would not be released. Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd told Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, (D-MD), “By proceeding with today’s vote, you have abandoned the accommodation process with respect to your requests and subpoenas for documents concerning the secretary’s decision to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.”
When Trump was asked about the issue on Wednesday, he replied, “That’s really a legal matter. But I think when you have a census, and you’re not allowed to talk about whether or not somebody is a citizen or not, that doesn’t sound so good to me. So I don’t want to get you into this battle, but it’s ridiculous.
USA Today reported in April that the Supreme Court must decide in June whether the question will remain. In April, the court was divided; the conservative majority reasoned that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ plan to include the question was not illegal or unconstitutional. Chief Justice John Roberts stated, “Citizen voting age population is the critical element in voting rights enforcement, and this is getting citizen information.”
In April, Republicans on the House Oversight and Reform Committee wrote:
Democrats do not want to know how many citizens there are in the United States. Although the Census Bureau solicits citizenship information from a portion of the population every year, Democrats now fear that a full survey of U.S. citizens will hurt their political fortunes for years to come. To prevent this outcome, Democrats in Congress—including Chairman Elijah E. Cummings—have initiated an aggressive investigation of the Commerce Department’s reinstatement of a citizenship question on the 2020 decennial census. As the Committee Republicans have documented, Chairman Cummings’s investigation is designed to influence pending Supreme Court litigation by seeking documents from the Commerce Department that go directly to heart of the issue The Democrat fear-mongering about the citizenship question on the 2020 Census is disingenuous and wrong. Soliciting citizenship information from the people present in the United States is not new and should not be controversial.