Democrats celebrate announcement on citizenship census question

Democrats celebrate announcement on citizenship census question
© Greg Nash

Top Democrats on Capitol Hill are celebrating the Trump administration's announcement on Tuesday that it will forgo adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Critics have pushed back on the White House's efforts to ensure its inclusion for months, arguing it had the potential to cause noncitizens and anyone else in their households to skip filling out the question or partaking in the census altogether, which could lead to an inaccurate count.

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Rep. Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyReport: Americans unprepared for retirement Senate approves fund to provide compensation for Sept. 11 victims Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment MORE (D-N.Y), the co-chairwoman of the House Census Caucus who led members in the fight against the question, said she felt an "ominous storm cloud over the census has been lifted."

The New York Democrat had sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossTrump administration announces deal to avert tariffs on Mexican tomatoes Huawei grappling with 'live or die moment,' founder says Ex-counterintelligence official warns Trump administration not to be shortsighted on Huawei MORE on Tuesday morning calling for the agency to begin printing the census without the question following the Supreme Court's recent ruling against the Trump administration on the issue.

“The ominous storm cloud over the census has been lifted. This Administration is finally following the law. Moving forward with the 2020 Census without the citizenship question brings us a step closer to a full and accurate count," she said in a statement.

“We owe a lot of this victory to the amazing advocacy and community groups in states across the country who worked hand in hand with us to raise awareness of the illegality and outright lies of the Administration. Today is a huge win for every American who stands for democracy and equal representation,” she added.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerJewish Democratic congresswoman and veteran blasts Trump's 'disloyalty' comments Schumer says Trump encouraging anti-Semites Saagar Enjeti: Biden's latest blunder; Krystal Ball: Did Schumer blow our chance to beat McConnell? MORE (D-N.Y.) released a statement shortly after the decision was announced, calling it "a victory for our democracy."

"The exclusion of the citizenship question from the census is a victory for our democracy and for fair representation of all communities in this country," Schumer said. "The Trump administration’s politically-motivated efforts to undermine the Constitution in this instance were so reprehensible that even the conservative Supreme Court couldn’t let them get away with it. Democrats in Congress will be watching the Trump administration like a hawk to ensure there is no wrong-doing throughout this process and that every single person is counted."

Other Senate Democrats also heaped on the praise, including Minority Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate Democrats push Trump to permanently shutter migrant detention facility House panel investigating decision to resume federal executions To combat domestic terrorism, Congress must equip law enforcement to fight rise in white supremacist attacks MORE (D-Illi.), Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel Schatz'Medicare for All' complicates Democrats' pitch to retake Senate Criminal justice reform should extend to student financial aid Booker, Durbin and Leahy introduce bill to ban death penalty MORE (D-Hawaii) and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerLawmakers sound alarm on China's disinformation campaign in Hong Kong Facebook users in lawsuit say company failed to warn them of known risks before 2018 breach New intel chief inherits host of challenges MORE (D-Va.).

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) applauded the announcement, adding Democrats need to take strides to ensure people respond to the census. 

"MAJOR NEWS: We won this one - no citizenship question on #Census2020. Now we’ve got to double down & make sure folks respond. Our democracy can’t afford an undercount," he tweeted. 

And Rep. Judy ChuJudy May ChuLawmakers urge DNC to name Asian American debate moderator US must stay true to its values and fight the public charge rule Pelosi predicts Trump public charge rule will be 'swiftly challenged and defeated' MORE (D-Calif.) said the announcement was a "victory for democracy," arguing the change could have impacted the amount of money appropriated for key priorities in certain areas of the country.  

"Victory for democracy! The Constitution requires a count of ALL people. Now we need your help to spread the word and encourage everybody in your community to participate in #Census2020. An accurate count impacts representation & federal $$$ for housing, transpo, health & more," she said on Twitter.

The Department of Commerce announced its intention to add the question on citizenship status last year, saying it would help the Department of Justice enforce the Voting Rights Act.

The decision sparked strong pushback from a number of states, which launched legal challenges to the addition of the question in the courts.