And Democratic lawmakers in Congress have pounced on the decision as politically motivated and warned it will alienate immigrant communities after Trump’s hardline rhetoric during the champaign.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called it a “a dog-whistle tactic.” Meanwhile, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said the administration was turning the census into a “political football.”
“Adding a question designed to depress participation in certain communities is an assault on the foundations of this country. Given President Trump’s toxic rhetoric and aggressive policies toward immigrants, it’s clear his administration wants to include this question to discourage participation in immigrant communities,” she said.
Feinstein added that she would “work with California’s leaders to have this citizenship question removed from the census.”
A group of Senate Democrats introduced legislation last week that would prohibit questions on citizenship or immigration status from being included on the census. House Democrats announced on Tuesday that they would file similar legislation.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) added that “politics has no place in the census, but this administration will stop at nothing to push its anti-immigrant agenda.”
But with Republicans in control of Congress, including what gets a vote in both chambers, Democrats have limited options if they want to undo Trump’s actions through legislation. A mammoth government funding bill, which would have been one of their best legislative leverage points, passed last week.