Amid accusations of politicizing the US Census, President Donald Trump's campaign touted the administration's move to add a question about citizenship status on the consequential survey in an email to supporters on Wednesday.
The email with the subject line "GOOD NEWS: We are asking about citizenship" was sent to the President's backers and touts the move by the Commerce Department at the request of the Justice Department, giving credit to Trump himself.
The email states that "President Trump has officially mandated that the 2020 United States Census ask people living in America whether or not they are citizens," adding that "the sanctuary state of California is now SUING the Trump Administration to stop this commonsense order."
California has already sued over the move, and other states and civil rights advocacy groups are gearing up to sue as well. Critics argue that immigrant communities would be fearful to identify themselves as a non-citizen to the government or participate in the census, especially given the Trump administration's aggressive push to curtail illegal and some legal immigration.
That could lead to underreporting, and thus undercounting by the federal government in diverse communities. Critics accused the administration of pursuing the move without adequately testing it because of political motivations.
The Commerce Department announced Monday it would include a question about a person's citizenship status on the 2020 Census, the first time such a question will appear on the widely distributed once-a-decade survey since the 1950s, though it has appeared on more narrowly distributed, longer surveys also run by the Census Bureau.
The data collected in the decennial Census is used to determine important representation for states and localities like congressional districts and allocation of federal resources, and thus an accurate count is essential to those areas for the next 10 years.
The fundraising email asks supporters to sign a petition to "defend the President" and the decision. Once someone inputs their information to the data collection, they are prompted to donate money, as well.
"It's time to fight back. It's time to once again reclaim our voice in America," the email closes.
The campaign fundraising emails are run by the joint committee between the Republican National Committee and the President's campaign apparatus.
Democrats also were quick to capitalize on the controversy to raise money. Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez signed an email to supporters opposing the move and saying "it's up to us to stop them."