Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has proven himself to be one of President Trump’s greatest allies in the quest for economic nationalism with his defiance of the Washington, D.C., political establishment in deciding to add the citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
Ross’s Commerce Department announced this week that he would mandate that the 2020 Census ask respondents whether or not they are American citizens in order to gather more accurate data on the U.S. population and to better enforce the Voting Rights Act.
Since 1950, the citizenship question has not been asked on the full Census, leaving the nation without an exact estimate of how many citizens are in the country and how many noncitizens and illegal aliens are in the country.
On Friday, a group of panelists on the Census Scientific Advisory Committee wrote to the Census Bureau’s Acting Director, Ron Jarmin, to claim that the citizenship question would depress Census response rates.
The New York Times reported:
“I want to say in no uncertain terms that I think this is an absolutely awful decision,” D. Sunshine Hillygus, a Duke University political scientist and expert on census issues, said at the panel’s first day of deliberation on Thursday. “Because it is viewed as a strictly political decision, I think it doesn’t matter how much the Census Bureau says we will keep your data confidential. The Twitter commentary is about how this citizenship question is going to be used to target individuals who are not here legally.”
Recent research by the Center for Immigration Studies’ Steven Camarotta, though, found that there is no evidence that indicates that by asking if a U.S. resident is a citizen, the resident will be less likely to participate in the 2020 Census.
The move by Ross also defied the Census Bureau’s former director, John Thompson, who served under President Obama between 2013 and 2017 until he abruptly resigned.
In statements last month, Thompson sided with the political establishment, claiming that asking U.S. residents if they are citizens would put the Census at “great risks,” as Breitbart News reported:
“There are great risks that including that question, particularly in the atmosphere that we’re in today, will result in an undercount, not just of non-citizen populations but other populations that are concerned with what could happen to them,” Thompson said. “That is a tremendous risk.” [Emphasis added]
“The concern is it will cause great fear among certain populations that this data will be used for inappropriate purposes,” Thompson said. “The Census [Bureau] has a really, really hard job to convince everyone of two things. One is why it’s important to be counted. The other message that is really, really critical is that the census is confidential. The Census [Bureau] doesn’t give the data to anyone.” [Emphasis added]
With the addition of the citizenship question to the 2020 Census, Ross has become one of Trump’s most effective agents of change in the White House.
2020 Census: Counting Citizens Likely to Shift Power from Illegal Alien-Flooded Coasts to Middle Americahttps://t.co/mgqn5FQzT5
— John Binder 👽 (@JxhnBinder) March 30, 2018
Earlier this month, Ross — along with adviser Peter Navarro and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer — successfully advised Trump to stick to his economic nationalist agenda on foreign trade, resulting in a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum.
Next up for Ross is a push to get Trump to sign off on $50 billion worth of tariffs and restrictions on imported Chinese products to counter the country’s economic dominance that has come at the expense of American workers.