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 MaloneyHouse bill targets US passport backlog DOJ won't prosecute Wilbur Ross after watchdog found he gave false testimony NY progressive Bowman introducing 6B 'Green New Deal for Public Schools' 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 RossChina sanctions Wilbur Ross, others after US warns of doing business in Hong Kong DOJ won't prosecute Wilbur Ross after watchdog found he gave false testimony Commerce Department unit gathered intel on employees, census critics: report 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 SchumerChuck SchumerCould Andrew Cuomo — despite scandals — be re-elected because of Trump? Democratic negotiator: 'I believe we will' have infrastructure bill ready on Monday DACA court ruling puts weight of immigration reform on Democrats 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 DurbinDick DurbinBiden: Pathway to citizenship in reconciliation package 'remains to be seen' DACA court ruling puts weight of immigration reform on Democrats New York gun rights case before Supreme Court with massive consequences  MORE (D-Illi.), Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzOn The Money: Stocks fall as COVID-19 fears rattle market | Schumer sets infrastructure showdown | Dems struggle to sell agenda The Hill's Morning Report - Surging COVID-19 infections loom over US, Olympics Democrats ramp up spending sales pitch MORE (D-Hawaii) and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerWarner backing 'small carve-out' on filibuster for voting rights Sunday shows - Jan. 6 investigation dominates Democratic negotiator: 'I believe we will' have infrastructure bill ready on Monday 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 ChuOmar reflects on personal experiences with hate in making case for new envoy Omar leads lawmakers in calling for US envoy to combat Islamophobia OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Democrats lay out vision for Civilian Climate Corps | Manchin to back controversial public lands nominee | White House details environmental justice plan 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.