Senators Urge Commerce Secretary To Print Census Materials Without Citizenship Question, Avoid Delays
Washington, D.C. – Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet joined a group of 28 senators led by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) in calling on Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to meet the administration’s previously set deadline of July 1 to begin printing materials for the 2020 Census and stop all efforts to include a politically motivated question about citizenship.
Their call comes a day after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Trump Administration’s rationale for adding the question “appears to have been contrived.” President Trump also announced on Twitter yesterday that he had asked his lawyers to delay the Census.
“By continuing to pursue the citizenship question, you will further delay and jeopardize the Census Bureau’s ability to conduct a full, fair, and accurate decennial census as required by the U.S. Constitution and the Census Act,” the senators wrote. “We urge you to stop all efforts to add a citizenship question and allow the Census Bureau to proceed with preparation for a 2020 census without a citizenship question on the questionnaire.”
Joining Bennet and Schatz are U.S. Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Tom Udall (D-NM), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (D-CN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Mark Warner (D-VA).
The letter follows Bennet’s previous efforts to ensure every American is counted in the 2020 Census and his calls for the process to remain non-partisan. In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday, Bennet called for ensuring the Census is protected from political interference. In May, Bennet penned an op-ed urging rural Coloradans to participate in the Census, stressing its importance to ensuring the state has the representation and resources it deserves. Last year, Bennet joined his colleagues in a letter to Secretary Ross urging him to select a nonpartisan, experienced, and scientifically-qualified nominee to lead the Census Bureau.
The full text of the letter is available HERE and below:
Dear Secretary Ross:
In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Department of Commerce v. New York State, we urge you to uphold the rule of law and respect the Court’s decision. By continuing to pursue the citizenship question, you will further delay and jeopardize the Census Bureau’s ability to conduct a full, fair, and accurate decennial census as required by the U.S. Constitution and the Census Act. We urge you to stop all efforts to add a citizenship question and allow the Census Bureau to proceed with preparation for a 2020 census without a citizenship question on the questionnaire.
As a constitutionally mandated activity, the decennial census is a cornerstone of our democracy. We have one chance to get the count right and must complete the task on time to meet constitutional and legal requirements for congressional apportionment and redistricting. The 2020 Census is less than half a year away, and any unnecessary delay in operations would impact the ability of the Census Bureau to count every person in our country. We urge you to remove the citizenship question, and we look forward to your response.