Senators Don’t Want Federal Agencies Collecting Citizenship Data

A group of Senators are threatening to withhold funds in an effort to stop federal agencies from providing citizenship data to the Commerce Department.

The battle over the citizenship status question for the upcoming census is still ongoing in Washington.

Even though a Supreme Court decision effectively kept the question off of the 2020 census, President Trump followed the decision by issuing an executive order in which he instructed federal agencies to supply the relevant citizenship data to the Commerce Department.

“I’m hereby ordering every department and agency in the federal government to provide the Department of Commerce with all requested records regarding the number of citizens and non-citizens in our country,” Trump said at the time the order was issued.

However, a group of Senators have vowed to fight this move. In a letter sent this week to Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Attorney General William Barr, the Senators expressed their opposition to the prospect of federal agencies collecting citizenship data.

The Senators say in their letter that the “executive order bypasses the successful legal challenges to the citizenship question and forces this information into 2020 Census data using methods that have not been reviewed for accuracy, legality, and feasibility.”

They also called it an “unlawful overreach of executive authority.”

The Senators also said they would work to prohibit the Commerce Department from using federal funds to carry out the terms of the executive order.

One of the Senators who wrote the letter has also introduced legislation that would rescind Trump’s executive order. S. 2233 was introduced by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI).

The letter was also signed by Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Patty Murray (D-WA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Michael Bennet (D-CO).

A copy of the letter is included below.

Senate Letter Re: Citizenship Data – 2019-07-23

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.