WH: Citizenship Question Has Been Included in Every Census Dating Back to 1965 Except 2010

Melanie Arter | March 27, 2018 | 9:09pm EDT
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White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (Screenshot)

(CNSNews.com) - The White House pushed back on liberal outrage that the Trump administration plans to include a citizenship question on the upcoming 2020 Census, saying that question has been included on every Census since 1965 with the exception of the 2010 Census, during the Obama administration.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked how the administration plans to address critics’ concerns that including the question will discourage immigrants from participating.


“This is a question that’s been included in every Census since 1965 with the exception of 2010 when it was removed. We’ve contained this question that’s provided data that’s necessary for the Department of Justice to protect voters and specifically to help us better comply with the Voting Rights Act, which is something that is important and a part of this process,” Sanders said.

“And again this is something that has been part of the Census for decades and something that the Department of Commerce felt strongly needed to be included again,” she added.

(To be accurate, between 1970 and 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau used two questionnaires. Most households received a short-form questionnaire asking a minimum number of questions that did not include citizenship. But a sample of households received a long-form questionnaire in 1970, '80, '90, and 2000 that did include questions about "naturalization" or citizenship. The 2010 Census used just one short-form questionnaire consisting of ten questions -- none about citizenship. But since 2000, the Census Bureau has conducted an annual, national, ongoing "American Community Survey," which does ask about citizenship.)

When asked whether there’s been discussion about doing some sort of outreach to states like California that have large immigrant communities so that they can be counted appropriately, Sanders said, “I’m not aware of the specifics, but I would refer you to the Department of Commerce.”

When asked to address critics who say adding the question was a way to target immigrants and that it will mean fewer resources for immigrant communities, Sanders said, “Once again, I would argue that this has been practice of the United States government.

“The purpose is to determine individuals that are here. It’s also helps to comply with the Voting Rights Act. Without that information, it’s hard to make those determinations, and that information needs to be gathered, and it has been part of the United States Census every time we’ve had a Census since 1965 with the one exception of the 2010 Census,” she added.

“But there’s a sense that ultimately this is going to affect blue states. Do you acknowledge as much when you talk about Voting Rights?” NBC White House Correspondent Kristen Welker asked.

“I think that it is going to determine the individuals in our country and provide information that allows us to comply with our own laws and with our own procedures,” Sanders said.

“The Census ultimately determines how resources are allocated, so doesn’t this mean fewer resources are going to be allocated to immigrant communities? That’s one of the big concerns,” Welker said.

“No, I mean I think we have seen this in practice before, and this is something that the Commerce Department feels should be part of this Census, and for anything specific and further information, I’d refer you to them,” Sanders said.

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