Ohio Republicans Defend Contested Citizenship Question at Census Hearing


WASHINGTON, DC – Members of a House oversight committee wondered on Thursday whether the 2020 census should ask citizenship questions and whether Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross should answer questions about citizenship because he is the subject of a case before the US Supreme Court.

Democrats of the House Oversight and Reform Committee have said that the issue of citizenship is intended to reduce the response rates of immigrants. Thus, the areas in which they will live will no longer be affected by measures allocated by the population, such as congressional representation and federal funding.

Republicans of the committee noted that the census contained citizenship issues for years before falling off the form decades ago. Champaign County political party representative Jim Jordan said that the "Democrats' drumbeat against a legitimate question" on citizenship status would decrease census response rates and divert other issues related to citizenship. census that the committee should consider, such as the cyber security of the first census. households can answer online.

"The purpose of the data collected by the citizenship questionnaire is, after all, to ensure that everyone's vote is counted fairly and that no one is discriminated against at the ballot box," said Jordan. "Certainly, the majority does not oppose vigorous enforcement of the law on voting rights."

Another Republican member of the committee, Holmes County Representative Bob Gibbs, said the census asked many detailed personal questions about race, nationality and income for statistical purposes, and that it made sense to include citizenship.

"We should know how many citizens are in this country," Gibbs said, noting that the survey would not inquire about the legal status of non-citizens.

Ross told the committee that all decennial censuses conducted between 1820 and 2000 contained questions about citizenship or country of birth, and that many other democracies around the world collect information about citizenship in their census surveys. He added that the Department of Justice had asked the Census Bureau to reinstate the citizenship issue to help enforce the voting rights act. All the individual information collected during the census is confidential, he said, and the data are used for statistical purposes.

"Getting complete and accurate information to use to determine citizen voter populations to enforce the voting rights law is a legitimate goal for the government," Ross said. "And I determined that the importance of this objective outweighed any potential decrease in self-response rates that may be caused by people violating their legal obligation to respond to the decennial census."

The committee's democratic chairman, Elijah Cummings of Maryland, said he did not believe the "pretext" that information is needed to enforce the voting rights law, saying the Trump government had "done all that was its power to abolish voting "and that the Voting Rights Act has never used citizenship information.

Cummings claimed that Ross concealed the real reason the Trump administration had re-established the matter and that he was not legally allowed to withhold certain documents requested by the committee because the citizenship issue is the subject of a federal litigation that the US Supreme Court will consider next month. . He threatened to summon the requested documents if they are not provided next week.

Jordan and other Republicans alleged that the hearing was an inappropriate effort to interfere in the pending battle in Federal Court. In a column published on the Fox News website, Jordanian and North American GOP representatives Mark Meadows said the Democrats do not care about the integrity of the census and that they thought that to ask the question of citizenship would make them lose power in Washington.

"It's because the census is used to redistribute congressional seats, and Democrats know that their distribution according to the population of citizens, not the total population, will make them lose seats in Congress," he said. said the column, alleging that Democrats needed votes from non-citizens, who are currently not allowed to vote, "to survive as a party".

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