White House defends 'lawful' citizenship question on census: 'Have a right to know who's in this country'

Deputy White House Press Secretary Hogan Gidley defended the Trump administration's desire to add a citizenship question to this year's national census, saying Americans have a right to know who's in the country illegally.

"I think the president understands what most Americans want. They have a right to know who’s in this country," Gidley said on "Outnumbered Overtime" Monday.

"It’s kind of fascinating to me, were at a weird place in America when President Donald Trump is being asked why he wants this question included in the census, and Democrats aren’t being asked why they don’t. Everyone should want to know who’s in this country, and this is nothing new."

Gidley claimed there has been a citizenship question on the census since the 1800s and said Trump will defend its lawful implementation with all the power at his disposal.

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"A version of this question has been on the census since the 1800s. The Supreme Court, as Ken Cuccinelli just pointed out, said this question is completely lawful. We just didn’t like the way it was argued," he said. "So the president's going back and taking a look and saying, 'I’m going to use everything in my legal authority to make sure this question is added to the census because the American people have a right to know just who’s in this country.'"

He then said the administration is currently fighting for the question's inclusion and feels it is a logical step to help maintain and order accountability.

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"We are still fighting to get it on the census itself. But the fact is, he wants to know who’s in this country and this is a good way to do that," he said. "There are all types of questions, as you know if you’ve ever filled out a census form... whether you have running water, how many people are in your domicile, all those types of things. So this is just a logical question to ask."

Gidley claimed there are over one million illegal immigrants who've received deportation orders but are still living in the United States, and said it's unfair of Democrats to treat them as if they were above the law.

"We have over a million people in this country who have received final deportation orders from a judge, meaning they’ve already had their day in court and they're supposed to go home," he said.

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"That’s a set of rules and laws that should apply to everyone in this country. But American citizens get put in jail if they ignore a court order. But if you’re here illegally, I guess the law doesn’t apply to you. And Democrats are there saying, 'We want to make illegal immigrants’ illegal behavior, legal.' Now that makes no sense whatsoever. We've got to change the asylum laws and the credible fear claim that illegal aliens use when they come into this country has gone up 1700 percent. And that’s when they come up here and claim that they are fleeing their government oppression to get into our country."