Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach encouraged President Donald Trump to add a question about citizenship status to the U.S. Census during the early weeks of Trump’s presidency. More than a year later, Trump’s administration has moved to enact that exact policy for the 2020 census. “I won’t go into exact detail, but I raised the issue with the president shortly after he was inaugurated,” Kobach said Tuesday. “I wanted to make sure the president was well aware.” Kobach, a Republican candidate for Kansas governor who is running on a platform focused on immigration, also published a column in January on Breitbart calling for Trump to reinstate the question to the Census.
“It’ll allow our nation to know how many citizens we have. … Every sovereign nation should know that,” Kobach said, contending that after 1950 the country has had to rely on less accurate estimates about the number of citizens.
The Commerce Department, which administers the Census, noted Monday that the citizenship question was included on almost every census from 1820 to 1950.
Kobach said the question was then moved from the Census’ short form to its long form, which is more detailed but has a lower response rate, until 2010, when it was moved to the annual American Community Survey.