Democrats and Republicans are butting heads over whether to allow a new question to the census that asks the citizenship status of responders, but Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) argued the question is about so much more than finding out who is a citizen or not.
In a House hearing on Tuesday, the New York congresswoman called the census “one of the most vital and sensitive” operations of the U.S. government, and challenged why a new question on citizenship would be added by the Trump administration without the usual five-year process.
“This is not about whether or not I want to know who is a citizen in the United States or not,” she argued. “What I want to know is why this question was added, why two years have been shaved off of that five-year process. I want to know why we have skipped every normal mandated procedure in testing how this question gets added in the census.”
Ocasio-Cortez then dove into the brief history of the consideration of the question with its roots involving former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and Republican redistricting specialist Thomas Hofeller.
“I want to know why folks like that have their fingerprints all over the most sensitive census operations that we have in the United States government,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
A case filing late May revealed that Hofeller was the brainchild behind the citizenship question and wrote in 2015 emails that the question “would clearly be a disadvantage to the Democrats” and “advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites” in redistricting.
“I want to know about corruption, that’s what I want to know,” Ocasio-Cortez continued. “I want to know about the racism and the very disturbing history that we’re seeing here — that’s what I want to know.”
Watch the video below:
.@RepAOC @AOC on 2020 Census and holding Secretary Ross in contempt of Congress: "Any change to the census, any addition of a question, usually takes 5 years…I want to know is why this question was added, why 2 years have been shaved off that 5-year process." pic.twitter.com/8OkK1kYXNQ
— CSPAN (@cspan) June 12, 2019
The Supreme Court has already heard arguments on the citizenship question case and is expected to reveal a decision by the end of June.