Commerce Secretary defends effort to add citizenship question to 2020 census

Wilbur Ross appeared before the House Oversight Committee and defended his efforts to add a controversial citizenship question to the census.
6:41 | 03/14/19

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Transcript for Commerce Secretary defends effort to add citizenship question to 2020 census
On March Tony's sixth 2018. I decided to reinstitute. A citizenship. Question. On the 22 honey do so Neil senses. Pursuant. To the statutory authority. Given to me by congress. My reasoning. Is explained. In my march 26. 2008. Team decision memo. It is available on the Department of Commerce web site. Questions about citizenship. Or country of but over birth or boat. Were asked as part. On all but one US Centennial senses. For a 180 years. From 1820. Two the year 2000. Indeed. The citizenship question. Continues to be asked every year. This Census Bureau on the American communities served. Ortiz CS for sure. It is a sample served a distributed annually. To about two point 64%. Of the American population. Prior to my march Tony's six decision. We understood that the Department of Justice might want they've citizenship question. Reinstated. On the descent deal senses. There is no formal process. For adding questions. To the descent Neil senses. However. Other federal agencies. Had previously submitted. Written request. For questions to be added to the AC yes. And such requests. Trigger an internal. Census Bureau review. Prior to the final decision. I instructed staff to follow up with DOJ it. For a written statement. Confirming. Whether or not. DOJ. Was going to ask for reinstatement. Of the question. We wanted to make sure. That we had enough time to adequately consider. Any formal requests. That DOJ. Might make. Ultimately. On December 12 2017. DOJ. Made a formal. Written requests. That the Census Bureau reinstate. The citizenship. Question. On the just said Neil senses. DOJ. Sought. Census. Block level citizenship. Data. For use in voting rights act enforcement. In response. The Census Bureau initiated they've legal. Policy. And programmatic review process. Or consider. Ultimate means of meeting GOJ's. Requests. We had discussions. With numerous. External stakeholders. And elected officials. Including speaker Pelosi. And including chairman Cummings both of whom opposed the day at the idea. We have evaluated thousands of pages of analysis. Including written submissions but other members of this committee. We've submitted. Or the lives of the Centennial census questions. To congress. By the march 31. 2018. Statutory. Deadline. Following receipt of DOJ's letter and during our review. Census Bureau officials. Recognize. That current they see us data did not need. TOJ's. Request. For the census. Block level data. The Census Bureau analysis. Also showed. That win non citizens. Respond to the easiest question on citizenship. They respond incorrectly. Approximately. 30%. Of the time. And I marched Tony's six decision memo. Described more details. Of the decision making process. And the alternatives we considered. To reinstating. The citizenship. Question. As you know certain aspects of this issue. Are in litigation before the Supreme Court and before other courts. However I'd look forward to answering as many of your questions as I kept the secretary. Let me ask few year today. In light of all of these documents. That have come to line. Do you wish you would Droid your. Previous testimony. To congress that your decision. Ed the citizenship question. Was based and I underline solely. Solely. On requests. From the Department of Justice. And I and to suggest supports. My reasons or adding the citizenship question. Are described in detail. In the march Tony's sixth 2018. Decision. After we received the Department of Justice letter on December 12 2017. We minimally Commerce Department myself and the Census Bureau. Initiated. And very detailed very thorough process. To consider that request. That's what we were responding. To. In light of all of these documents. That we have competent come to life. You don't you do not wish to withdraw your previous testimony that would thing. I'd testified. Truthfully. With the best in my ability. That in response to what my understanding of the questions for okay.

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