LOS ANGELES – Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund), issued the following statement today marking one year until the constitutionally mandated decennial Census that requires every person residing in the U.S. be counted:

“From the nation’s beginning, the decennial Census has been a critical part of governance in our democracy.  Donald Trump has infected Census 2020 with his ongoing white nationalist, anti-Latino agenda by adding an unnecessary and untested citizenship question to the Census form.  His Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, lied repeatedly to the American people about why the question was added, and conspired with others to concoct a fake reason to add the question.

“Today, Trump tweeted out more lies about the citizenship question, including suggesting that only radical leftists oppose the addition of the question and that the Census is useless without the question.  This latest spewing of falsehoods marks Trump as our nation’s April Fool-in-chief.

“The citizenship question has not been needed, and has not been included in the decennial Census since 1950.  That means the first Censuses without the question came under those well-known leftist radicals, in Trump’s terms, President Dwight Eisenhower and President Richard Nixon.

“Trump’s clear and revealed purpose in manipulating the truth and politicizing the Census is to diminish the accuracy of the count of certain targeted groups, the growing Latino community first among them.  One year before the Census, we must all commit to participating fully in the Census, ensuring that all household members are included in completing the form.

“Donald Trump doesn’t want you to count.  Make yourself count in Census 2020!”