The Trump administration’s decision to include a question about citizenship in the 2020 census will cause an undercounting of Texas’ population that could affect the amount of money the state receives as well as its representation in Congress, Democrats said Tuesday.
“Texas is one of the most diverse states in the nation, and by prioritizing racist politics, the Trump administration is risking an inaccurate census count that has implications across our great state,” Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said in a statement.
The constitutionally-mandated population count by the federal government occurs every 10 years. The data collected is used to determine the number of representatives alotted to each state in the U.S. House — Texas has 36 congressional seats — as well as how much federal money local Texas communities receive for social services and to build infrastructure like schools and hospitals.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, applauded the inclusion of the citizenship question, saying it will produce more accurate data about the country’s population.
“It is imperative that the data gathered in the census is reliable, given the wide ranging impacts it will have on U.S. policy. A question on citizenship is a reasonable, commonsense addition to the census,” Cruz said in a statement.
U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, who is running to unseat Cruz, said on Twitter the citizenship question will scare immigrants, particularly Hispanics, out of participating in the census which will produce undercounted data that will have consequences for the state.
Hispanics comprise 39 percent of the state’s population, according to Census Bureau estimates from 2016, and the population continues to grow.
“For El Paso, Houston, every community across our defining border state, this will mean a loss of millions in resources for health care, public education, infrastructure, disaster relief, and the distribution of federal funds critical to projects in Texas,” O’Rourke said.