A number of House Republicans are petitioning President Trump to quickly sign an executive order that adds the American citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
Trump’s Commerce Department first announced last year that the American citizenship question — i.e., all U.S. residents are asked whether or not they are a U.S. citizen — would be put back on the Census form for 2020. Since 1950, the citizenship question has not been asked on the full Census, leaving the nation without an exact estimate of how many citizens and noncitizens are in the country.
Most recently, the U.S. Supreme Court voted five-four to block the addition of the citizenship question on the upcoming Census, though reports have circulated that Trump is planning to sign an executive order to ensure that the question is put on the 2020 Census forms.
In a letter to Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday, 19 House Republicans asked that Trump sign an executive order as soon as possible that would place the citizenship question on the 2020 Census, noting its importance in knowing the impact of the country’s mass illegal and legal immigration system.
The letter states:
We are writing today to encourage you to work with President Trump to support the issuance of a memorandum or executive order appropriate under our Constitution and laws to clearly outline the President’s rationale for including a citizenship question on the census. Inclusion of such a citizenship question is clearly constitutional and lawful, and as members of Congress we can say unequivocally that we support inclusion of such a question and that it is critical that the President do so as quickly as possible as we prepare for the coming census. [Emphasis added]
From our vantage point in Congress, there are numerous important reasons to include the question on the census, of which the President clearly is aware. Those reasons range from determining appropriations levels for states and localities and having data for states to make decisions on ballot box placement, to collection of data for purposes of understanding the impact of immigration (legal and illegal) on communities, as well as obviously impacting apportionment and re-districting. [Emphasis added]
Despite claims to the contrary, citizenship is unquestionably germane to carrying out our duty to apportion representatives. Setting aside the fact it remains an unsettled question as to whether states can, in fact, use citizenship data in redistricting, the 14th Amendment demands that we take into account citizenship in allocation of representation. Under section 2 of the 14th Amendment – and as further amended by the 19th and 26th Amendments – in order that we be able to enforce the penalty put in place by the Amendment’s authors and ratifiers for any interference with the right to vote, the administration arguably is required to capture the citizenship information. [Emphasis added]
Those who petitioned Trump to immediately sign an executive order to include the citizenship question on the Census include:
- Chip Roy (R-TX)
- Mo Brooks (R-AL)
- Jody Hice (R-GA)
- Bill Posey (R-FL)
- Paul Gosar (R-AZ)
- Jeff Duncan (R-SC)
- Jim Jordan (R-OH)
- Ted Yoho (R-FL)
- Ralph Norman (R-SC)
- Andy Biggs (R-AZ)
- Michael Cloud (R-TX)
- Scott DesJarlais (R-TN)
- Louie Gohmert (R-TX)
- Warren Davidson (R-OH)
- Ted Budd (R-NC)
- Scott Perry (R-PA)
- Andy Harris (R-MD)
- Alex Mooney (R-WV)
- Mark Meadows (R-NC)
Kansas Secretary of State and U.S. Senate candidate Kris Kobach has noted that an official count of the American citizen population thanks to a citizenship question on the 2020 census could inform the way in which congressional apportionment is conducted. Currently, congressional apportionment is set by the number of residents in each state, rather than the number of citizens.
Should congressional apportionment be based on the number of American citizens in each state, representation would shift from Democrat-strong coastal areas with large foreign populations towards states with small foreign populations like Wyoming and Ohio.
Americans overwhelmingly support asking the citizenship question on the Census, the latest Harris/Harris Poll found. About 67 percent of U.S. voters support adding the citizenship question in the Census, as well as five-in-nine Hispanic Americans and six-in-ten black Americans.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.