During a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing today, Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) argued that adding a citizenship question to the U.S. Census would undermine the allocation of federal resources and fail to address the needs of communities across the country. Sarbanes’ criticism followed a vote to hold Attorney General William P. Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with the committee’s investigation into the addition of the citizenship question to the 2020 census.
“We have expert testimony that if you put that question on the survey – on the census survey and questionnaire – it’s gonna have an impact of an undercount in the millions. And we know how important it is to get an accurate count…. Three hundred and twenty federal programs relied on census data to distribute over $880 billion in federal funds in fiscal year 2016 alone,” said Congressman Sarbanes.
Sarbanes further challenged the administration’s incentives underscoring the addition of the citizenship question to the census. “The evidence is that the Trump administration is actually looking to weaponize the citizenship question for political gain…. You know the impact it will have based on what the experts are telling us if you include that question. You then have enough evidence and suggestion that the motivations behind putting the question on there are insidious…. Americans need to be deeply concerned if there’s a campaign underway to take this question, weaponize it in a way that is designed to diminish the power, the presence, the voice of certain communities across this country,” Sarbanes concluded.