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 MaloneyWhite House, Democrats strike tentative deal to create Space Force in exchange for federal parental leave benefits: report Democrats could introduce articles of impeachment next week Two budget staffers resigned after voicing concerns about halted Ukraine aid, official says 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 RossSpace race is on: US can't afford congressional inaction in this critical economic sector Trump escalates fight over tax on tech giants The Hill's Morning Report - Intel panel readies to hand off impeachment baton 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 SchumerOvernight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson — Democrats call on Supreme Court to block Louisiana abortion law | Michigan governor seeks to pause Medicaid work requirements | New front in fight over Medicaid block grants House, Senate Democrats call on Supreme Court to block Louisiana abortion law Why a second Trump term and a Democratic Congress could be a nightmare scenario for the GOP 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 DurbinSupreme Court poised to hear first major gun case in a decade Protecting the future of student data privacy: The time to act is now Overnight Health Care: Crunch time for Congress on surprise medical bills | CDC confirms 47 vaping-related deaths | Massachusetts passes flavored tobacco, vaping products ban MORE (D-Illi.), Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzThere's a lot to like about the Senate privacy bill, if it's not watered down Advocates hopeful dueling privacy bills can bridge partisan divide Key Senate Democrats unveil sweeping online privacy bill MORE (D-Hawaii) and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerHillicon Valley: FTC rules Cambridge Analytica engaged in 'deceptive practices' | NATO researchers warn social media failing to remove fake accounts | Sanders calls for breaking up Comcast, Verizon Bipartisan senators call on FERC to protect against Huawei threats Hillicon Valley: House passes anti-robocall bill | Senators inch forward on privacy legislation | Trump escalates fight over tech tax | Illinois families sue TikTok | Senators get classified briefing on ransomware 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 ChuHillicon Valley: FCC moves against Huawei, ZTE | Dem groups ask Google to reconsider ads policy | Bill introduced to increase data access during probes Dems call out Oracle for lack of diversity on its board Bicameral group of Democrats introduces bill to protect immigrant laborers 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.