2018-03-28 / Front Page

Meng Presses Commerce Secretary Ross On Census Citizenship Question

Congress Member Grace Meng (D-NY) questioned Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross during an Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the impact of potentially adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.Congress Member Grace Meng (D-NY) questioned Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross during an Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the impact of potentially adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.Congress Member Grace Meng (D-NY) questioned Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross during an Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on March 20, pressing him on the impact of adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

During the hearing, Ross said that he has not yet made a decision on whether or not to include the question.

Meng has opposed the Justice Department’s request to add a citizenship question to the census, and she and Congress Member José Serrano (D-NY) sent a letter to the secretary in January urging him to reject the proposal.

“The Census Bureau is required to provide Congress with the final 2020 Census questions by March 31,” said Meng. “It is outrageous and irresponsible that Secretary Ross still has no answer on whether or not a citizenship question will be included. In addition, the secretary failed to adequately answer my questions about the costs associated with adding such a question, and whether or not it would improve accuracy. Adding a question about citizenship status would be reckless and misguided. It would lower response rates from those in immigrant communities, make the census more expensive, and add further complications to an already underfunded and underprepared Census Bureau. There is too much is at stake to risk an inaccurate count. Secretary Ross must make a final decision, and that decision must be to reject any plan that would ask about citizenship on the 2020 census.”

“The idea of adding a citizenship question to the Census is a thinly veiled attempt to depress immigrant census turnout,” said Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “Message to the administration: we are watching you, and with the help of Congressional allies like Grace Meng, we will fight on every front together with the New York Counts 2020 coalition to ensure that every New Yorker is fully counted in the 2020 Census.”  

The hearing was held by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies. Meng has served on the panel since January 2017.

Meng explained, “An accurate census count is critical. Data collected from the census is used to determine the number of seats that each state receives in the House of Representatives, and it decides how much state and local governments receive in federal funds. The count is mandated (in) Article I, Section 2 of the United States Constitution.”

It is especially important in a state like New York, which generally contributes more to the federal government than it gets back.

 

 

 


 

 

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