Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Monday defended the Trump administration’s decision to add a controversial citizenship question to the 2020 census, saying he didn’t think the addition would mean the "sky will fall."
“It’s been asked every year on the American Community Survey in the exact same form that we’re planning to do in the census this year. Sixty-one million families have already been exposed to the question, and the sky has not fallen,” Ross said at a National Press Club event. “So I don’t think the sky will fall when we add it to the census itself in 2020.”
He rattled off several steps the department would take to ease the change for non-English speakers, including providing access to multilingual instructional material and call-center resources and working with community groups to explain the importance of participation.
“We’re also putting the citizenship question last so that someone who, for whatever reason, feels uncomfortable with that question, at least they can deal easily with the questions with which they are not uncomfortable,” Ross added.
The Commerce Department will also spend roughly $500 million on census-related advertising, in part to help reassure citizens that their data by law can’t be used for immigration purposes. “We also are taking extreme measures for cybersecurity so that we can try to protect as best one can against intrusions there,” he added.
The department announced that it would add the controversial question in March, sparking outcry from Democrats and civil rights groups. Seventeen states and others sued Commerce and the Census Bureau over the change in April. They have argued that including the question would depress participation in immigrant communities, with significant electoral and other ramifications.
The administration has said the question will allow officials to enforce voting laws more accurately.
The original story can be found here.
Be First to Comment