Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Monday dismissed fears over the Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question on the 2020 census — saying the move doesn’t mean the “sky will fall.”
“It’s been asked every year on the American Community Survey in the exact same form that we’re planning to do in the census this year,” Ross told the National Press Club in Washington, The Washington Times reported.
“Sixty-one million families have already been exposed to the question, and the sky has not fallen. So I don’t think the sky will fall when we add it to the census itself in 2020.”
The citizenship question will be the last one on the census form, “so that someone who, for whatever reason, feels uncomfortable with that question, at least they can deal easily with the questions with which they are not uncomfortable,” Ross said, the Washington Times reported.
The Commerce Department will spend about $500 million on advertising the census — partly just to reassure people that their data can’t be used for immigration purposes, the Washington Times reported.
“People do not need to worry that their privacy will be abused by the census,” he said.
“We also are taking extreme measures for cybersecurity so that we can try to protect as best one can against intrusions there,” he added.
According to the Washington Times, 17 states have sued Commerce and the Census Bureau over the change.
“It did draw lots of opposition,” Ross said. “It also drew lots of support. It’s not a novel question.”
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