New York Sues Trump Administration Over Citizenship Question

The numbers from the census are used to determine how many seats each state gets in Congress as well as how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funds are allocated. "I'm proud to lead this coalition in the fight for a full and fair Census", New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. Democratic members of New York's congressional delegation said Tuesday that the decision to add a citizenship question was an attack on states, like NY, with high immigrant populations in an attempt to cut their congressional representation and share of federal funding.

It would be the first time in 70 years that the government uses the form sent to every household to ask people to specify whether they are US citizens. "His administration is throwing away decades of proven practice by demanding that people responding to the Census disclose their citizenship status".

"This is a blatant effort to undermine the census and to prevent the census bureau from carrying out its clear constitutional mandate", Schneiderman said at a press conference, unveiling the lawsuit that was co-signed by almost 20 other attorney generals and the US Conference of Mayors.

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In addition, the lawsuit contends that the question violates the Constitution's mandate that the Census count every person in the country, not just citizens.

Supporters of the plan for the 2020 census argue that obtaining more data on the voting-age population of citizens than current surveys are providing will help the Justice Department enforce the Voting Rights Act, which protects minority voting rights.

Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Providence and Seattle, as well as the city and county of San Francisco have also signed on as plaintiffs in the case. The attorneys general emphasize that citizenship was not included in the list of topics for the 2020 Census submitted to Congress on March 28, 2017, and that the question has not undergone any field testing. "I am filing this lawsuit to ensure that immigrants in IL are represented fairly and accurately".

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The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court, called the decision to ask about citizenship "unconstitutional and arbitrary".

As the Census Bureau's own research shows, the decision to demand citizenship information will "inevitably jeopardize the overall accuracy of the population count" by significantly deterring participation in immigrant communities, because of concerns about how the federal government will use citizenship information. This proposal would then limit funds created to support some of the most vulnerable populations in each state, including low-income communities, the elderly, and children-regardless of citizenship. As a result, an undercount of population in states that are home to large immigrant communities will impair fair representation, a principle fundamental to the fabric of our democracy.

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  • Ryan Wade