Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez joined his fellow Democrats Tuesday in condemning the Trump Administration’s decision to reinstate the citizenship question on the 2020 census. Perez claimed it was a move aimed at “voter suppression.”
"They want to change it to count the number of U.S. citizens so that they can engage in very not subtle voter suppression," he told MSNBC’s Katy Tur. "That is illegal and that is totally inconsistent with what the North Star of the census in Republican and Democratic administrations have been."
"This is just another divide-and-conquer effort,” Perez emphasized. He called it “a first cousin of these voter ID laws sought to make sure that African Americans and Latinos can't vote."
"This is not who we are as a nation,” Perez added. “This is not why people died for the passage of the Voting Rights Act."
The Commerce Department announced the decision Monday night.
“The citizenship question will be the same as the one that is asked on the yearly American Community Survey (ACS),” they emphasize in a statement. “Citizenship questions have also been included on prior decennial censuses. Between 1820 and 1950, almost every decennial census asked a question on citizenship in some form. Today, surveys of sample populations, such as the Current Population Survey and the ACS, continue to ask a question on citizenship.”
They explained that the DOJ requested “census block level citizenship voting age population (CVAP) data that is not currently available from government surveys,” adding that “DOJ and the courts use CVAP data for the enforcement of Section 2 of the VRA, which protects minority voting rights.”
Perez didn’t buy that explanation, saying “when I hear the voting rights justification used to say this is why we need to do this, as someone who enforced the Voting Rights Act at the Justice Department for a number of years, the Voting Rights Act does not require this.”
He also claimed that the Trump administration is “trying to scare people,” calling the decision “an intimidation tactic. There are many mixed-status families…and they’re trying to make sure that the count isn’t accurate.”