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 MaloneyNew York Democratic congresswoman hospitalized Cast and crew of 'Unbelievable' join lawmakers to advocate for reducing DNA, rape kit backlog O'Rourke gun confiscation talk alarms Democrats 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 RossOvernight Energy: Dems subpoena Perry in impeachment inquiry | EPA to overhaul rules on lead contamination tests | Commerce staff wrote statement rebuking weather service for contradicting Trump Commerce staff drafted statement rebuking weather service for contradicting Trump's hurricane predictions US, in reversal, does not support Brazil's entry to OECD 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 SchumerTrump defends 'crime buster' Giuliani amid reported probe Louisiana voters head to the polls in governor's race as Trump urges GOP support Trump urges Louisiana voters to back GOP in governor's race then 'enjoy the game' 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 DurbinSenators take fundraising efforts to Nats playoff games Overnight Health Care: Watchdog finds DEA allowed more opioids even as overdose deaths rose | Judge temporarily blocks Georgia abortion law | Three states report more vaping deaths | Dem proposes new fix for surprise medical bills During impeachment storm, senators cross aisle to lessen mass incarceration MORE (D-Illi.), Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzNBA draws bipartisan backlash over China response Federal aid is reaching storm-damaged communities too late Impeachment threatens to drown out everything MORE (D-Hawaii) and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerZuckerberg defends meetings with conservative politicians, pundits Senators take fundraising efforts to Nats playoff games Senate Intelligence report triggers new calls for action on election security 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 ChuDemocrats see whistleblower report as smoking gun Lawmakers urge DNC to name Asian American debate moderator US must stay true to its values and fight the public charge rule 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.