The Justice Department issued a statement Tuesday that said it was “disappointed” with a federal judge’s decision to block the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
“Our government is legally entitled to include a citizenship question on the census and people in the United States have a legal obligation to answer,” DOJ spokeswoman Kelly Laco said in the statement.
The Census Bureau moved to add the question in 2018 at Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s direction, and the Department of Justice defended the administration in the case U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman decided Monday, which was a consolidation of lawsuits brought by advocacy groups and a multistate coalition.
Here is the full DOJ statement:
“We are disappointed and are still reviewing the ruling. Secretary Ross, the only person with legal authority over the census, reasonably decided to reinstate a citizenship question on the 2020 census in response to the Department of Justice’s request for better citizenship data, to protect voters against racial discrimination. Not only has the government asked a citizenship question in the census for most of the last 200 years, 41 million households have already answered it on the American Community Survey since 2005. Our government is legally entitled to include a citizenship question on the census and people in the United States have a legal obligation to answer. Reinstating the citizenship question ultimately protects the right to vote and helps ensure free and fair elections for all Americans.”