Chairwoman Maloney Announces Hearing on President Trump’s Unconstitutional Effort to Ban Undocumented Immigrants from Census Count

Jul 22, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (July 22, 2020)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, announced that the Committee has invited Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Census Director Steven Dillingham, and Census Bureau Chief Scientist John Abowd to an emergency hearing next Wednesday on the Trump Administration’s latest attempt to undermine the 2020 Census.  The Committee has also invited three former Census Directors:  Dr. Kenneth Prewitt, Vince Barabba, and John Thompson.

“Yesterday, President Trump issued a memorandum directing the Department of Commerce to exclude undocumented immigrants from the 2020 Census apportionment calculations for the House of Representatives,” Chairwoman Maloney wrote in the invitation letters.  “This action directly violates the Constitution and the laws passed by Congress, and it appears to be a blatant attempt to politicize the 2020 Census, depress participation, and undermine its accuracy.  Because the Administration is taking this step in the middle of the ongoing Census, the Committee on Oversight and Reform requests that you appear for an emergency hearing on Wednesday, July 29, 2020.”

President Trump’s directive contradicts numerous previous statements from Administration officials that they were never seeking to exclude immigrants from the Census—or from congressional apportionment.  For example:

  • Last year, Secretary Ross testified under oath before the Committee that the decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census had nothing to do with counting undocumented immigrants for apportionment purposes.  He stated, “the Department of Commerce is fully committed to administering as complete and accurate decennial census as we can.  We intend to try to count every person taking all necessary actions to do so.”
  • At the same hearing, Secretary Ross stated:  “The constitutional mandate, sir, for the census is to try to count every person residing in the U.S. at their place of residence on the dates when the census is conducted.”
  • At a Committee hearing earlier this year, the Census Bureau Director Dillingham was asked whether the Census would count someone “here just illegally.”  He responded, “Congressman, we count everyone, wherever they are living.”
  • In court proceedings, the Department of Justice asserted that the Administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question was not meant to exclude noncitizens from the 2020 Census.  Brett Shumate, a lawyer with the Justice Department, argued that because the questionnaire goes to every single household, and because responding to the Census is required by law, the government was not seeking to exclude anyone.

The hybrid hearing has been scheduled for 10 a.m. on Wednesday, July 29, 2020, in room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building, and a livestream will be available on the Committee website.


116th Congress