Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) accused Kansas former Secretary of State Kris Kobach of using “voter suppression techniques” during Wednesday’s House Oversight Committee hearing focused on Attorney General William Barr and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross’ alleged refusal to comply with subpoenas associated with 2020 census citizenship questions.
The committee is debating a resolution to hold Barr and Ross in contempt for allegedly ignoring subpoenas related to the citizenship questions on the 2020 census. During the hearing, Ocasio-Cortez spoke out and accused Kobach of using “voter suppression techniques” in his state.
“He has a resume of voter suppression techniques in the estate of Kansas,” Ocasio-Cortez declared. “I want to know why folks like that have their fingerprints all over the most sensitive census operations that we have as a United States government.”
Ocasio-Cortez implied that she wants to know the motivation behind the citizenship question, although it is clear she believes it is nefarious.
“This determines who is here. This determines who has power in the United States of America,” she continued. “That is what we want to know. I want to know about corruption. I want to know about the racism and the very disturbing history we’re seeing here.”
Kobach led President Trump’s former commission on voter fraud. He came under fire after appealing an order to cease enforcing Kansas’s proof of citizenship voting requirement.
“Why are there so many people– everyone from Steve Bannon to Kris Kobach– having their fingerprints and their political intent all over the United States census?” Ocasio-Cortez continued.
In May, Montana Sen. Steve Daines (R) introduced legislation that would require the U.S. census to ask a question regarding citizenship.
Democrats are adamantly against this, arguing that it would deter people from participating and force illegal aliens further into the shadows. Undoubtedly, much of their concern lies in the possibility of losing congressional seats.
Critics also say the census hasn’t consistently asked questions about citizenship since 1950, although there are some gray areas.
“Starting in 1970, questions about citizenship were included in the long-form questionnaire but not the short form,” NPR noted. “For instance, in 2000, those who received the long form were asked, ‘Is this person a CITIZEN of the United States?’”
“This is America,” Daines told Fox News. “We are a sovereign nation. It’s absurd that we don’t know how many citizens and non-citizens are living in this country.”
In the big picture, Daines’ legislation would bolster the effort to keep a citizenship question on the census long after Trump’s term comes to an end.