Massachusetts Attorney General Files Lawsuit on Addition of Citizenship Question to Census

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"I'm proud to lead this coalition in the fight for a full and fair census", he said.

The lawsuit, which also included the bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors as a plaintiff, said adding the citizenship demand to the 2020 census questionnaire was arbitrary and will "fatally undermine the accuracy of the population count". "Adding a citizenship question to the Census form has a deliberate and intended chilling effect on participation", Rosenblum said.

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 USA citizens.

"For decades, administrations from both [major] political parties have treated this constitutional requirement with the respect and reverence it deserves".

The lawsuit was filed by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman - who has taken on Trump multiple times since Trump took office - and was signed on to by the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

The major metropolitan cities of Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Providence, San Francisco and Seattle also signed on, as did the United Conference of Mayors, which includes the mayors of 1,408 cities across the country.

Schneiderman said the decision to add a citizenship question "blatantly" undermined the Constitution's mandate to count all people.

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U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the question is necessary for his department to determine what portion of the population is eligible to vote.

"The prospect of someone saying 'I'm from the Trump administration, ' and asking for citizenship status will invoke fear", he said. "President Trump's decision puts our wonderful city of immigrants in jeopardy and threatens federal funding for infrastructure, health care and public safety in NY", said Mayor Bill de Blasio. The resulting undercount would deprive immigrant communities of fair representation when legislative seats are apportioned and district lines are drawn.

California's attorney general filed a similar lawsuit last week.

To the extent that the Voting Rights Act requires a calculation of the number of eligible voters in a given jurisdiction, the Census Bureau already provides an adequate-and far less intrusive-source of citizenship information based on sampling from surveys such as the American Community Survey.

The census does not plan to ask immigration or legal status.

In addition, the citizenship demand would depress Census participation within the states' diverse immigrant and undocumented populations, leading to inaccurate responses and a significant undercount of the states' residents.

All of the states bringing the case have Democratic attorneys general.

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