Newly uncovered emails between Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and members of the Trump administration cast doubt on his justification for his order to include a question about citizenship on the upcoming decennial census, The Washington Post reports.
Earlier this year, Ross directed the Census Bureau to add a question on citizenship to the decennial census. He wrote that the information would help the government enforce the Voting Rights Act, a statement that the Post’s Philip Bump notes “was quickly treated with skepticism.”
Ross said in March that he hadn’t talked about the question with anyone in the White House, but emails recently released by the Commerce Department show he spoke with former presidential adviser Steve Bannon and with Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who was the vice chairman of President Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission. In one email, Kobach writes that they “talked about the fact that the US census does not currently ask respondents their citizenship,” three months prior. Kobach added that the lack of data means that illegal immigrants who live in the United States “are still counted for congressional apportionment purposes.”
The Post notes that “One of the concerns about including a question on citizenship is that people who are not in the country legally will be dissuaded from participating in the count, leading to an undervote of populations of individuals.”
Data from Pew Research Center shows that the majority of immigrants live in large cities that tend to vote for Democrats.
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