Harris Joins Colleagues to Reintroduce Bill to Prevent Distorting Census Count with Citizenship Question

WASHINGTON, D.C. Jan. 29, 2019 – Recently, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris joined her colleagues to reintroduce the Every Person Counts Act, legislation that prohibits the Secretary of Commerce from including any question regarding one’s citizenship or immigration status on the U.S. census. The act also amends Title XIII of the United States Code, clarifying that each decennial census shall tabulate the total number of persons in each state.

On January 15th, a U.S. District Judge ordered the administration to abort its plans to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.  However, with a June deadline to print the final census questionnaire, the administration is now pressuring the Supreme Court to review this case, in hopes of still including a question about citizenship on next year’s census survey.

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“The United States begins each decade with a census to ensure that every single person—without exception—is accounted for,” said Harris. “This Administration’s proposed citizenship question is nothing more than an attempt to intimidate immigrant communities, distorting the count and shifting essential health, public safety, and infrastructure resources away from the cities and states with significant immigrant populations. It also would undermine proportional representation in Congress. This legislation would protect the integrity of the Census and ensure that it is conducted in a fair and inclusive manner.”

The Every Person Counts Act would:

  • Require Title XIII of the United States Code to be amended to clarify that each decennial census shall tabulate the total number of persons in each state;
  • Prohibit the Secretary of Commerce from including a U.S. citizenship or immigration status question on the census;
  • Forbid the construction of any rule that would permit or require the census to exclude populations due to their age, or federal employees and their dependents, and Armed Services personnel stationed abroad, stationed abroad, or other persons outside the United States from being counted as residents of the states to which they usually reside.

The Census Bureau must, by law, provide Congress with the final wording of the census questionnaire by March 31.

The bill is also co-sponsored by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.) Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).