Rashida Tlaib: Census Citizenship Question Will Make My Citizen Mother ‘Hesitate’

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., makes an impassioned argument against the Trump Administration's proposal to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census, as the panel debates whether to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for failing to turn over relevant subpoenaed documents, on Capitol …
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) is upset by the prospect of a basic citizenship question on the 2020 census, calling it “radicalized” and arguing that it would make her mother, who has been a citizen for decades, “hesitate.”

Wednesday’s House Oversight Committee hearing focused on Attorney General William Barr and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross’s alleged refusal to comply with subpoenas associated with 2020 census citizenship questions.

Tlaib, much like her colleague Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez  (D-NY), suggested the existence of ill-will behind the citizenship question.

“This is about whether or not we as a country want to count every single person, no matter their status and so forth. But doing this, this is political motivation, this is very racialized,” she said.

“This is because you don’t want communities like mine being represented here in this chamber equally,” she continued. “This is about that. And it really, it breaks my heart.”

“Is it really about citizenship?” she asked, answering her own question with a resounding “no.”

She took her accusations a step further, posing the motivation behind the citizenship question as a secret ploy to reduce minority participation.

“It is about reducing the number of people of color in this country being counted in the census,” she declared. “That’s exactly what it is about. Because you want to cheat. He wants to cheat, Mr. Chairman. He wants to cheat this process. Well, not on our watch.”

That isn’t a new argument. Many Democrats believe that a citizenship question would “force people into the shadows.” Proponents say a basic citizenship question is not new and believe Democrats are more concerned by the prospect of losing congressional seats.

Tlaib did not stop her criticism there. She said the citizenship question will make her mother “hesitate,” even though she has reportedly been a U.S. citizen for decades.

Tlaib’s mother has been a citizen for over 40 years. It remains unclear why a basic census question on citizenship would cause her to “hesitate.”


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