Steve Daines Presses Census Bureau Nominee Over Citizenship Question To Prevent Illegal Immigration

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Henry Rodgers Chief National Correspondent
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Montana Republican Sen. Steve Daines pressed the Census Bureau’s nominee for director to include a citizenship question in the upcoming 2020 Census, saying U.S. citizens should have more of a say than illegal immigrants.

“I believe the citizens of Montana should have more of a say with what happens in Washington than illegal immigrants harboring in sanctuary cities,” Daines told The Daily Caller News Foundation before the hearing.

In the hearing for Dr. Steven Dillingham, the nominee, Daines pressed Dillingham about the need to have a citizenship question in the census, in order to keep track of the amount of illegal immigrants in the U.S.

“We must make sure that taxpayer dollars are distributed fairly and that U.S. citizens are properly represented in Congress,” Daines said. “My job is to represent the citizens of Montana … And I believe citizens in Montana should have more of a say in Washington, D.C., than illegal immigrants harboring in sanctuary cities across the country.”

Daines asked Dillingham if he plans on including the citizenship question in the census.

“Senator, I have no plans to voice an opinion on that question. I think it would not be advisable in my position if I am confirmed to be the director of the Census bureau,” Dillingham replied. “It would be problematic, I think, to take a public position on that question.”

Montana Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock vehemently opposed the citizenship question in a May 7 letter to the House Oversight Committee, saying, “A citizenship question — such as the one proposed — chills participation in the Census process and risks undercounting persons in areas with large minority populations. Most concerning, the ‘undercount’ connected with this new question would disproportionately target underrepresented communities, citizens and noncitizens alike.”

“It threatens to dilute the voices of American Indians, Hispanics, Asian Americans, African Americans, and others in our democratic system of government. This is unacceptable. Montanans have first-hand experience with the effects of undercounting in the Census,” Bullock continued. (RELATED: Challenge To Census Citizenship Question Can Proceed, Judge Rules)

The Senator strongly believes we need to reinstate the citizenship question because it is commonsense for a sovereign nation to know how many citizens and noncitizens are in the country,” Katie Schoettler, a spokeswoman for Daines, told TheDCNF.

If confirmed, Dillingham would be in charge of the census that decides how many seats in Congress each state receives and how many tax dollars are given out.

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