U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic presidential hopeful, lauded the Trump administration’s decision Tuesday to abandon pursuit of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census, saying that its omission would provide for a more complete count.
Warren, speaking to reporters after a rally Tuesday evening at the East Las Vegas Community Center, said Trump administration officials “knew they didn’t have a leg to stand on” and that she was “glad” they backed down from the question. Administration officials have not given a reason for the decision, which was included in a one-sentence email from the Justice Department.
Asked whether there is any way to ask a citizenship question on the census that doesn’t create barriers to participation, the Massachusetts senator said she doesn’t believe so.
“I think where we are right now is to leave the citizenship question off and get the maximum people to respond to the census. That’s what we need,” Warren said. “Our democracy depends on it and the way that we allocate resources in this country.”
The Supreme Court last week rejected an explanation that administration officials had given for including the citizenship question, not wholly shutting the door on the possibility of its inclusion but imposing a significant barrier to doing so in light of the timeline for carrying out the census. The Census Bureau had said that it needed to start printing questionnaires by Monday — July 1 — in order to meet the deadline for conducting the census next year.
The citizenship question has been a point of concern for Democratic leaders in the Silver State, who worried that it would deter underrepresented communities from participating in the census, resulting in an inaccurate population count and depriving the state of crucial federal resources that are allocated on a per capita basis.
Earlier this year, Gov. Steve Sisolak signed an executive order establishing a 2020 census committee tasked with community outreach and determining funding needed to complete the count, and the Legislature approved an appropriations bill with $5 million to carry out the census.
“Today’s #SCOTUS decision is a significant victory, but the fight is not over,” Sisolak said in a tweet last week. “We must continue to ensure the census is fair, complete & accurate for all. That’s why I’m proud that our Complete Count Committee is working to make sure #NevadaCounts.”
A crowd of about 600 packed the community center during the evening event to hear from Warren, who fielded questions on reparations for black Americans, how to “end endless wars” and on protecting care for seniors. She is slated to hold a similar community event at Cathexes in Reno on Wednesday evening.
The two-day swing is Warren’s fourth trip to the state since announcing her bid for the presidency.