June 22, 2018

Iowa among states suing U.S. over census citizenship question

05 April 2018, 12:55 | Franklin Nunez

New York AG Eric Schneiderman Suing Trump Admin to Block Citizenship Question on Census

18 States Sue Trump Administration Over Census Citizenship Question

The District, Virginia, Maryland and 15 states filed a lawsuit Tuesday to block the Trump administration from adding a last-minute citizenship question to the 2020 decennial Census.

The U.S. Census count is two years away, but the return of a controversial citizenship question has prompted New Mexico's attorney general to file a lawsuit. In turn, the lack of turnout would threaten state congressional representation and the states' "fair share of federal funding for roads and schools", Stein said.

The Trump administration announced last week it plans to reinstate a census question asking respondents if they are American citizens.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of ny, also includes six cities and the bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors and comes a week after California sued the administration over the same issue. "Mayors of both parties have long contested that previous censuses have undercounted cities, limiting the federal resources that their communities deserve", he said. In 2009, all eight former Census directors stemming back to 1979 objected to a proposal to add citizenship and immigration questions to the Census, warning that even lawfully present immigrants might "avoid enumerators because one or more other household members are present unlawfully". And that would lead to an inaccurate count of the population.

Census numbers also drive federal funding of numerous programs, so an undercount could severely limit public services in certain states. United States Department of Commerce, a lawsuit seeking to prevent the Trump administration from skewing the 2020 Census by including a citizenship question.

"With immigrant communities already living in fear, demanding citizenship status would drive them into the shadows", he added, "leading to a major undercount that threatens billions in federal funding for NY and our fair representation in Congress and the Electoral College".

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All households were last asked about US citizenship in the 1950 Census, although "some version of the question has been asked in almost every census - either through the now-defunct "long form" or the ongoing annual surveys", in subsequent decades, according to They further allege the policy compromises their ability to comply with constitutional "one man, one vote" standards, which require equal populations among legislative districts. "The Trump Administration's decision to add a citizenship question to the Census is an affront to our national ideals and to America's history as a welcoming home for immigrants".

Ross, in his announcement, conceded officials don't know the impact of the citizenship question on participation but argues the additional data collected is worth the answer. The defendants were the U.S. Department of Commerce, responsible for the census, and the Bureau of the Census.

With the start of the 2020 Census less than two years away, preparations for the decennial count of the nation's residents have already begun in Oregon.

The cities are: Washington, D.C., Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Providence, Seattle, and San Francisco, plus the bipartisan United States Conference of Mayors.

17 states, the District of Columbia and six cities are part of this lawsuit so far.

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