Kobach: I encouraged Trump to add citizenship question to census
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Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said Tuesday he suggested to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Trump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Ocasio-Cortez claps back at Trump after he cites her in tweet rejecting impeachment 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.”


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 SessionsSarah Sanders to leave White House Sarah Sanders to leave White House Barr compares his return to DOJ to D-Day invasion 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.