WASHINGTON, D.C.- U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., introduced a bill Wednesday requiring a question on the 2020 U.S. Census that would ask about citizenship.
It’s an issue the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hear before the forms are printed in July.
The Citizens Count Census Act states the Commerce Secretary shall include in any questionnaire a checkbox, or similar option to indicate if the respondent is a citizen or national of the United States.
“This is America,” Daines said in a news release. “We are a sovereign nation. It’s absurd that we don’t know how many citizens and non-citizens are living in this country. That’s why I’m introducing this bill to require a citizenship question on the census.”
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says he made the decision to include citizenship because of request from the U.S. Department of Justice.
The issue has been simmering for months, with opponents arguing the question embodies racist undertones and would lead to under counts in the census.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said the Trump Administration wants the citizenship question included to enforce the Voting Right Act.
“Voting Rights Act enforcement has never used citizenship data from every U.S. household,” Cummings said in his opening stated at a hearing in March.