March 23, 2018

Cortez Masto Cosponsors Bill to Prevent Trump Administration from Politicizing Census with Citizenship Question

Washington, D.C. – In response to the Trump Administration’s efforts to include a question on citizenship in the non-partisan 2020 Census – likely depressing participation among immigrant households – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) to introduce the Every Person Counts Act of 2018 (S. 2580) that would prohibit the Census Bureau from asking a question on citizenship or immigration status. 

“The Trump Administration’s efforts to add a question on citizenship in the 2020 Census is just another one of this Administration’s misguided immigration priorities aimed at sowing fear in American communities and perpetuating anti-immigrant rhetoric” said Senator Cortez Masto. “Our census is intended to provide a full and accurate accounting of this nation’s population, and any attempts to keep immigrants undercounted and minority districts underfunded should not be tolerated.”

The bill is also co-sponsored by Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.).

The Census Bureau must by law provide Congress with the final wording of the census questionnaire by March 31.


ProPublica first reported that the Department of Justice had urged the Census Bureau to include a citizenship question on the upcoming census claiming it was critical to enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. Earlier this month, it further reported the request was drafted by a Trump political appointee who has worked on behalf of Republican redistricting efforts. And just this week, news reports revealed Trump campaign officials have used the president’s push for the controversial, anti-immigrant proposal to raise money for his re-election. 

The Every Person Counts Act of 2018

This bill includes:

  • Requirement: Amend title 13, United States Code, to make clear that each decennial census shall tabulate the total number of persons in each State.
  • Prohibition: Prohibit the Secretary of Commerce from including any census question regarding United States citizenship or immigration status.
  • Rule of Construction: Forbid an interpretation that would permit or require the census exclusion of populations based on age, personnel in the Armed Forces serving abroad, federal employees and their dependents stationed abroad or other persons outside the United States who are traceable to the State of their usual place of residence.

This bill is supported by the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO), SEIU, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Common Cause, NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc, and the National Council of Jewish Women.