Ang Santos: The Trump administration has decided to print 2020 census forms without a citizenship question. The move comes days after the Supreme Court ruled to keep the question off census forms, and just a day after printing was scheduled to begin for 1.5 billion paper forms, letters and other mailings. With us on the phone we have co-chair and founder of the House Census Caucus, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of New York. Thanks for taking some time to speak with us.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney: I’m delighted to be here.
AS: This citizenship question has sparked numerous protests, lawsuits, and debates over the last year. Congresswoman you consider leaving this citizenship question off of the 2020 Census a victory, how did we get here?
CM: It was a long haul, but it never ends. The chaos and confusion has sadly become the new normal for the White House. The news is great that the 2020 Census will be printed without the citizenship question. It’s a win for every American who stands for democracy and equal representation. Moving forward the 2020 Census without the citizenship question brings us a step closer to a full and accurate count. Even though the President is tweeting and trying to back down from that, his own Department of Justice and Commerce Secretary have both confirmed that the printing process will move forward without the citizenship question. No matter how hard the President tries to get us to stop, we will never give up in fighting to prevent this illegal immoral and purely partisan question from corrupting the census.
AS: At a press availability earlier this week President Trump described why he feels this citizenship question was important, let’s listen in.
President Trump: I think it’s very important to find out if somebody is a citizen as opposed to an illegal. There’s a big difference to me between being a citizen of the United States and being an illegal.
AS: Congresswoman Maloney, your response to the President?
CM: We do have ways to get the citizenship question through other surveys and other administrative procedures that contain that. But the purpose of the census is planning and representation. Every person has to be counted. If you’re not counted, you are not represented. Your state will lose representation in Congress. The census numbers are not only used for Congress. They’re used for every elected office from school board to state senator. Over $72 billion a year we get from the federal government based on census numbers, for schools, mass transit, safety, and seniors. All of the programs that help communities are based off of census numbers. If you aren’t counted, the community will still provide that service, but you won’t be reimbursed properly from the federal government.
AS: Do you have concerns that trust in government may have been compromised in the eyes of undocumented immigrants over this citizenship question debate and they may decide to not participate at all?
CM: I’m very concerned. He always says sort of threatening things to immigrants. He same the announcement that after July 4 there was going to be a huge push to round up people. That’s terrifying to people. In my office and the work that we are doing, we have a number of immigrants that are in the process of becoming citizens. It takes years as you know. It’s threatening and he’s scaring people. That’s a real problem. Those of us in government and with the professionals at the census bureau, we have to remind people and encourage them to fill it out and that their information is confidential.