USA adds citizenship question to 2020 census; AG Maura Healey will sue

Randall Padilla
March 28, 2018

"Despite overwhelming bipartisan and multi-sector opposition, Secretary Ross capitulated to President Trump and Attorney General Sessions", Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights said in a statement.

Pressed on whether this would disproportionately affect more liberal states, Sanders said: "I think that it is going to determine the individuals in our country and provide information that allows us to provide with our own laws, our own procedures".

"The reinstatement of a citizenship question will not decrease the response rate of residents who already declined not to respond", Ross wrote in a memo released Monday, brushing off concerns about lower participation.

Commerce says that between 1820 and 1950, nearly every decennial census asked a question on citizenship in some form.

Critics of the move say that including such a question on a government survey will scare non-citizens and vulnerable immigrant communities into under-reporting, especially in the context of the Trump administration's hardline push to curtail illegal and legal immigration. "This is something that has been part of the census for decades and something that the Department of Commerce felt strongly needed to be included again". He also said it wouldn't overly burden the non-citizens because approximately 70 percent of them already answer the question correctly on the annual American Community Survey, an ongoing survey of USA population that generates data that help determine how more than $675 billion in federal and state funds distributed every year.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the 1965 Voting Rights Act required a tally of citizens of voting age to ensure minority groups were not discriminated against. A citizenship question is a late addition to the census as other census questions have already been announced.

Becerra is expected to announce the lawsuit, which could also include 18 other states, on Tuesday morning.

FILE - In this March 15, 2010, file photo, copies of the 2010 Census forms in Phoenix.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra applied early on Tuesday for a court to rule that such a census question would violate the United States constitution.

Schneiderman believes the question that will appear on the 2020 census form violates the 14th Amendment. The move comes after a 2017 request by the Justice Department to include the question.

"We're prepared to do what we must to protect California from a deficient Census", he said.

The data is collected to help the federal government calculate the distribution of funding and draw up district maps to be used at state and local elections.

Eric Holder, the former attorney-general under Barack Obama and present chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, said he would also litigate to stop what he described as "a direct attack on our representative democracy".

Becerra and his state have been central to virtually every legal challenge of the Trump administration on issues ranging from immigration, to the environment, to health care.

A question about citizenship status on the 2020 U.S. census has been criticised by Democrats who say it will intimidate immigrants and discourage them from participating.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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