Kobach: I encouraged Trump to add citizenship question to census
© Getty

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said Tuesday he suggested to President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussia's election interference is a problem for the GOP Pence to pitch trade deal during trip to Michigan: report Iran oil minister: US made 'bad mistake' in ending sanctions waivers MORE last year that he consider adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

“I won’t go into exact detail, but I raised the issue with the president shortly after he was inaugurated,” Kobach told The Kansas City Star.

Kobach is a vocal supporter of strict voter ID laws and wrote a Breitbart column in January arguing in favor of including the citizenship question on the census.

Kobach told the newspaper that he was unsure if he was the first person to discuss the topic with Trump, but that the president “absolutely was interested in this.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced his decision Monday night to reinstate the citizenship question, despite strong objections from Democrats in recent weeks.

The White House on Tuesday said it supports the decision.

The Department of Justice, under Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump poised to roll back transgender health protections Trump claims Mueller didn't speak to those 'closest' to him And the winner of the Robert Mueller Sweepstakes is — Vladimir Putin MORE, has pushed for inclusion of the question, arguing that it would allow the department to better enforce the Voting Rights Act.

Ross argued that the benefits of reinstating the question, which has not appeared on the census in decades, outweighs concerns over a potential dip in response rate.

Democrats have argued that adding the question would result in an inaccurate population count because it would discourage some immigrants from filling out the questionnaire, given the Trump administration's crackdown on those in the country illegally.

Some Democratic attorneys general have vowed to take legal action to prevent the question from being added.

Kobach, who is running for governor in Kansas, previously served as the head of Trump’s Commission on Election Integrity.

The commission was created to investigate the president’s unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2016 election. 

Trump disbanded the commission in January.