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Hirono, Meng Stop GOP Attempt to Add Citizenship Question to U.S. Census

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) and U.S. Representative Grace Meng (D-NY) announced today that they stopped Republicans from adding a citizenship question to the next United States Census, blocking their attempt to exclude undocumented immigrants from apportionment decisions in the census.

“A complete, accurate census is critical to our country, our communities, and our democracy, which is why we have continued to fight back against Republicans’ repeated unconstitutional attempts to interfere with the census,” said Senator Hirono. “House Republicans’ attempt to exclude undocumented individuals from the apportionment process was a blatantly unconstitutional attack on vulnerable and underrepresented communities. I appreciate the partnership of Rep. Meng and so many of our colleagues who came together to successfully block Republicans from weaponizing the census to advance their political agenda.”

“Through the multiple House GOP-led delays in funding our government, I and my Democratic colleagues remained clear-eyed,” said Representative Meng. “We couldn’t let their dysfunction touch the Census Bureau and the important work it does to ensure every person is counted in our democracy. An accurate census count is critical to determining congressional representation and the distribution of billions of dollars in federal resources for schools, infrastructure projects, and social services. I am grateful to House and Senate leaders for understanding our concerns and the importance of protecting the census from political interference. We will continue to fight against any future attempts to add a citizenship question and disrupt the census.”\

In 2018, President Trump pushed to add a question on the decennial Census which would have asked respondents about their citizenship status. Senator Hirono and Representative Meng fought against the plan, and after the Supreme Court blocked it from moving forward, the Trump administration abandoned its crusade. But this past January, Republicans revisited the effort, attaching a measure to a key funding bill that would have required the question to be on the 2030 census.

The lawmakers led a letter to congressional leaders urging them to remove it, and the legislation was passed and signed into law without the citizenship question being included. Senator Hirono and Representative Meng had argued that a citizenship question wouldn’t just target the undocumented community, but would result in inaccurate census data that is used to apportion congressional seats and allocate government resources.

The lawmakers’ letter, which was signed by 48 other Senators and House members, was sent to House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

The citizenship question provision had been in the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Act of 2024 (H.R. 5893) which funds the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and other science-related programs for the 2024 fiscal year. Senator Hirono and Representative Meng voted to approve the bill, along with five other spending bills. All of these bills were packaged together.