California sues over Census citizenship question

California sues over Census citizenship question

The White House said Tuesday that asking a question about citizenship on the 2020 census form is a standard practice that will help protect Americans' voting rights.

The U.S. Commerce Department, which runs the Census Bureau, announced on Monday that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had chose to include the citizenship question after a Justice Department request based on a desire for better enforcement of the Voting Rights Act.

Article 1, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution calls for a census to be taken every decade for the objective of apportioning seats to the House of Representatives, according to the number of "free persons" residing in each state.

"This undercount would frustrate the Census Bureau's obligation under the Constitution to determine "the whole number of persons in each state, ' threaten our states" fair representation in Congress, dilute our states' role in the Electoral College, and deprive our states of their fair share of hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funds that are allocated in part on decennial Census data", the attorneys general argued.

He also says the question is illegal in California.

United States officials say the move will help the federal government enforce the Voting Rights Act and give it the data it needs to allocate resources.

But California isn't the only state that has opposed the citizenship question. Multiple previous directors of the Census Bureau have warned against adding a question about immigration status back to the Census.

"We are glad to stand with NY and the other participating states in challenging this unnecessary question regarding citizenship status - both to protect New Jersey residents and ensure a fair and accurate census", Grewal said.




That question is now included on the American Community Survey, which offers a more detailed read on the state of the US population and replaced a different long-form questionnaire in the 2010 census. The administration argues the change would improve enforcement of the Voting Rights Act.

Tuesday's release disclosed plans by New York State to lead a multi-state lawsuit to "preserve a fair and accurate Census".

The population count taken every 10 years is more than an academic exercise.

The Justice Department recently announced it was suing California over state and city laws the federal government has said extend protections to people living in the country illegally in so-called "sanctuary cities". The priority, Commerce said, was "obtaining complete and accurate data".

President Donald Trump has made a hardline approach to unauthorised immigrants a signature feature of his administration, consistent with his own campaign pledges. Get help with your rights to justice, equality and civil libertiesOpponents say the question will discourage immigrants from responding to the census and cause a population under count.

Healey has the support of Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin, who has accused the Trump administration of "sabotaging" the census.

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".

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