House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused President Donald Trump on Monday of wanting to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census because he wants to “make America white again.”
“This is about keeping — you know his hat — make America white again,” Pelosi said at an event in San Francisco.
She was referring to Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again,” featured on red baseball caps.
Pelosi contended that adding the citizenship question is meant to suppress minority participation in the census.
“They want to make sure that people, certain people, are counted. It’s really disgraceful. And it’s not what our founders had in mind,” the speaker said.
“What they want to do is put a chilling effect so certain populations will not answer the form.”
“We’re saying, ‘Don’t give them that victory. You must respond, because otherwise they win,’” Pelosi added.
Late last month, the Supreme Court ruled that Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross had not provided an adequate rationale why a person’s citizenship status should be included in the census.
The case was remanded back to the federal district court for further litigation.
Attorney General William Barr told the Associated Press on Monday that he has been in consultation with Trump concerning the matter. “I agree with him that the Supreme Court decision was wrong,” Barr said.
The attorney general added he believes there is “an opportunity potentially to cure the lack of clarity that was the problem and we might as well take a shot at doing that.”
The citizenship question has been included in multiple censuses throughout U.S. history, most recently in 1950.
Trump told reporters last week that he is weighing issuing an executive order directing the Commerce Department to include the citizenship question in the 2020 census, which would likely be a means to further strengthen the legal argument for its inclusion.
“We’re thinking about doing that, it’s one of the ways,” Trump said, according to The Hill.
“You need it for many reasons. Number one, you need it for Congress, for districting. You need it for appropriations: Where are the funds going, how many people are there, are they citizens, are they not citizens? You need it for many reasons,” Trump said of the need to include the question.
At an event in San Francisco in May, Pelosi also claimed that Trump wanted to “make America white again.”
“The point is that the president does not share the view of even Ronald Reagan and two Bushes in recent history as to the value and the vitality of immigrants to our country,” she said.
Ken Cuccinelli, acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, countered that notion on “Fox News Sunday,” saying the number of legal immigrants being granted full citizenship reached a five-year high in fiscal year 2018 at approximately 850,000.
He added that number is expected to be exceeded for fiscal year 2019.
“So people who come after the president and the administration, saying, ‘Oh, you don’t like immigrants,’ well we’re letting more people become citizens than has happened in years,” Cuccinelli said.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, the number of immigrants being granted lawful permanent resident status (prior to citizenship) has remained a consistent 1.1 million people per year, approximately, during both the Trump and Obama administrations.
That total includes about 90,000 from European nations, 405,000 from Asian nations, 117,000 from Africa, 169,000 from Mexico, 76,000 from South America, and 53,000 from Central America.
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