Carper Statement on Trump Administration’s Addition of a Citizenship Question to the 2020 Census

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) released the following statement regarding the Trump Administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Decennial Census: 

“The Trump Administration’s decision to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 Decennial Census is not only deeply troubling and legally questionable, but also threatens to undermine the accuracy of this critical count. There is no legitimate reason this question needed to be added to the full 2020 survey, let alone added at the very last minute, and the decision to do so should be seen for what it is: a brazen political ploy.

“In 2015, then-candidate Trump began his presidential campaign by demonizing immigrants. Ever since, his rhetoric and the actions taken by his administration regarding immigrants have only heightened concern. I fear adding a politically-motivated citizenship question to the 2020 Census is yet another attempt by the Trump Administration to intimidate participants and has the potential to have a chilling effect on responses that are badly needed.

“The Census goes all the way back to this country’s founding. In fact, our Constitution, which established the Census, clearly calls for a counting of all people living in this country – both citizens and non-citizens. Suddenly adding a citizenship question at the last minute is entirely unnecessary and goes against the very purpose of the census.

“All levels of our government and the businesses that drive our economy rely on accurate census data to plan accordingly and make investment decisions. Adding such a controversial question that will likely decrease the response rate is irresponsible and a waste of taxpayer dollars. In fact, this decision will ultimately increase the cost to administer the census and will hurt red and blue states alike. At a time when the Census Bureau is without permanent leadership, already projecting record low response rates, and struggling to test for 2020, this is simply the wrong decision for so many reasons.”