NY sues Trump administration over addition of citizenship question to census

Trump administration to reinstate census question about citizenship

"Between 1820 and 1950, nearly every decennial census asked a question on citizenship in some form", the statement read.

The U.S. Census Bureau's 2020 citizenship count question could discourage non-citizens from being counted in the 2020 questionnaire, according to detractors. Census data are crucial for decision makers working on everything from the drawing of electoral boundaries to the allocation of education funding and the location of supermarkets.

A coalition of state attorneys general urged the department last month to not add the question, saying it could lower participation among immigrants and cause a population undercount.

Following the news that the question would be included, Bacerra said that the state of California plans to sue the Trump administration, arguing that the question is in violation of the U.S. Constitution's requirement that there be an "actual enumeration" of the total United States population, including both citizens and non-citizens.

Democratic lawmakers had been bracing for the decision, making a point to question Ross during congressional hearings.

"The census numbers provide the backbone for planning how our communities can grow and thrive in the coming decade", Becerra said in a statement.

However in a memo on the decision, Mr Ross said the department had not received evidence that the response rate would indeed suffer a material decline.

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"The citizenship data provided" to the Justice Department as it reviews remapping for violations of voting rights "will be more accurate with the question than without it, which is of greater importance than any adverse effect that may result from people violating their legal duty to respond" to the census, Ross wrote.

The census helps determine several things including political representation in Congress and the distribution of federal money.

Ross wrote that he has chose to place a citizenship question on the census, while also asking the federal government to update its administrative records so the two can be matched. "This decision comes at a time when we have seen xenophobic and anti-immigrant policy positions from this administration", said Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Attorney General Becerra has been a vocal opponent of the Trump Administration's attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau questionnaire. Census officials in 2017 were already detecting heightened concerns among some respondents.

"Having citizenship data at the census block level will permit more effective enforcement of the VRA", a statement from the Department of Commerce reads. "What the Trump administration is requesting is not just alarming, it is an unconstitutional attempt to discourage an accurate census count".

The Trump administration is the embodiment of reactionary white anxiety about the country's changing demographics, and this one simple question, "Are you a citizen?" is another swipe at the power and presence of people of color. He called the move by Ross an attempt to suppress the count in states such as MA that have large immigrant populations.

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