House Democrats present bill to collect citizenship data

'Soft opening' for census door knocking to begin next month

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – President Donald Trump’s government should not be allowed to collect citizenship data through administrative records under a bill filed in the House on Monday, marking the latest challenge to an order issued by Trump after the Supreme Court plotted to citizenship question on the 2020 census.

House Democrats’ bill would overturn Trump’s order in July of last year and instruct the U.S. Census Bureau to gather citizenship information from the records of federal and state agencies. The citizenship data may allow states to create legislative districts that exclude non-citizens from the population, according to the order.

Trump issued the order after the Supreme Court prevented a citizenship question from being added to the 2020 census questionnaire because the government’s justification was insufficient.

House Democrats investigating the origins of the citizenship question said that a Trump transition adviser was in contact with an influential Republican redistribution guru, Thomas Hofeller, when the citizenship question was drafted in 2017. Hofeller, who died in 2018, argued instead for the use of voting citizens of the total population as a population base for redistribution. In documents that surfaced after his death, he acknowledged that he intended to help Republicans and non-Hispanic whites.

The 2020 Census – a once-decade count – helps determine how $ 1.5 trillion in federal spending is allocated and how many congressional seats each state gets.

Trump’s order has also been challenged by civil rights organizations in federal court in Maryland.

US Representative Steven Horsford, a Nevada Democrat and one of the sponsors of the bill, said the President’s injunction was to collect data for “political and discriminatory purposes.”

“Our founders included the ten-year census in the constitution because a representative democracy depends on an accurate census of its population, and any attempt to undermine such an important aspect of our democracy is wrong,” said Horsford, President of the Congressional Black Caucus 2020 Census Task Force, said in a statement.

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