DNC Chair: Census Question About Citizenship ‘Is a Craven Attack on Our Democracy’

Tom Perez / Getty Images

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said it’s a "craven attack on our democracy" for the U.S. census to ask about citizenship.

Perez on Tuesday lambasted the Trump administration’s decision to include a question about citizenship status in the 2020 census, the Washington Times reports. He said the administration is intending to "intimidate immigrant communities" with the question.

"This is a craven attack on our democracy and a transparent attempt to intimidate immigrant communities," Perez said.

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Other government surveys ask about citizenship, and the question has also appeared on previous national census surveys, which occur every ten years. The Obama administration did not ask about citizenship in the 2010 census.

Perez’s comment comes after the state of California sued the Trump administration for adding the question to the census. The state maintains that the Constitution’s "actual enumeration" mandate requires all people to be counted, and citizenship questions will reduce the response rate among immigrants.

"It is long settled that all persons residing in the United States—citizens and non-citizens alike—must be counted to fulfill the Constitution’s ‘actual Enumeration’ mandate," the lawsuit stated.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra also argued asking about citizenship breaks the Administrative Procedure Act’s rule against "arbitrary and capricious" agency action.

California officials are concerned that the state could lose one of its representatives in the House if the citizenship question is included. The question would, presumably, prevent a number of illegal immigrants from being counted in the census, thus reducing the amount of representation California has in Congress.

Seats in the House of Representatives are apportioned by a state's population as counted in the census, according to the Constitution. Those with "residence" in the U.S. are to be counted in the census.