Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Blasts Trump Officials for Census Citizenship Question

“I want to know about racism and the very disturbing history that we’re seeing here.”

Tom Williams/Zuma

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) lashed out against the Trump administration’s effort to add a citizenship question to the census during a House Oversight Committee hearing Wednesday.

A citizenship question on the census could intimidate non-citizen residents of the United States and cause immigrant communities to be undercounted in the 2020 census. Because the number of representatives in Congress is determined by population, rather than number of citizens, a question about citizenship could deny political representation to immigrant communities and shift power to whiter, more Republican areas.

Some powerful Republicans, such as Steve Bannon and Kris Kobach, have pushed for a citizenship question because it could help swing Congressional power to the GOP.

At Wednesday’s hearing, the House Oversight Committee moved to hold Attorney General William Barr and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoenas related to the Trump administration’s decisions about the citizenship question.

“I want to know why this question was magically added after we have seen that a political operative knew and detailed an intent to intimidate racial and immigrant communities for a partisan purpose, saying this will hurt Democrats and help Republicans,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “I want to know about racism and the very disturbing history that we’re seeing here.”

Ocasio-Cortez noted that changes to the census typically take five years of testing to be approved, but that the citizenship question has been in the works for only two years.

The US Constitution mandates that the census count “the whole number of persons in each State,” which was reaffirmed in the 2016 Supreme Court case Evenwel v. Abbott.

“This is about the rule of law,” Ocasio-Cortez said, “this is about the respect for our institutions, and this is about the power of all of us as a body, as United States Congress, and the integrity of the government of the United States.”

Watch her testimony below.

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate