June 03, 2019

Wyden Calls for Investigations into Trump Administration Efforts to Undercount Minority Communities, Politicize 2020 Census

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., joined a group of 13 senators in calling for federal investigations after new evidence came to light last week, revealing deeply partisan and undemocratic motives behind the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

In a letter to the inspectors general of the departments of Justice and Commerce, the senators raised concerns that government officials concealed the role of a partisan political operative who pushed the Trump administration to add the citizenship question so that immigrants and people of color living in the United States would be undercounted.

“The facts are clear – a Republican political operative encouraged adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census with the explicit goal of undercounting immigrants and gerrymandering districts in favor of his party. Despite the claims of Secretary Ross, this question is not about voting rights. It’s about political manipulation, plain and simple,” Wyden said. “Should the Supreme Court rule to uphold this dangerous question after these revelations, it will clearly establish that this court has become a political body for the advancement of a right wing agenda. These are the fruits of the Trump/McConnell strategy to appoint extreme conservatives to the highest courts in the land.”

In addition to Wyden, the letter is signed by U.S. Senators Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Jack Reed, D-R.I., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.

This letter follows previous efforts by Wyden to push back against Secretary Ross’s decision to add the citizenship question to the Census. In October 2018, Wyden joined a group of 20 senators in writing to the Commerce Department’s inspector general asking for a review of the last-minute addition of the question. He also joined a bicameral group of over 30 current and former members of Congress on an amicus brief to Supreme Court supporting a lawsuit to stop the question from being added.

A digital version of the letter is available here.