Published: Wed, March 28, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Census: Decision to add citizenship question draws protest

Census: Decision to add citizenship question draws protest

"Undercounting the sizeable number of Californian non-citizens and their citizen relatives will imperil the State's fair share of congressional seats and Electoral College electors and will cost the State billions in federal funding over the next decade", the attorney general's lawsuit says. It helps communities determine where to build schools, hospitals, grocery stores and more.

The Department of Commerce must provide Congress with a copy of the final wording of the census by March 31.

Ross said in a memo that the Voting Rights Act requires a tally of citizens of voting age to protect minorities against discrimination, and that getting this information as part of the census would make it more complete.

Ross had decided that "obtaining complete and accurate information to meet this legitimate government goal outweighed the limited potential adverse impacts", the department said in a statement.

NY will lead a coalition of blue states in a lawsuit against the Trump administration over a decision to include a citizenship question on the 2020 U.S. Census.

The state of California has perhaps the most to lose if the citizenship question does influence participation in the census count.

Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin, a Democrat, told AP on Tuesday that he expected his state would also join in a lawsuit.

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In the op-ed, Bacerra said that California, with its large immigrant population, could be disproportionately affected by depressed census participation.

After Monday's announcement the Democratic House leader, Nancy Pelosi, condemned the idea.

Several prominent Democrats have condemned the decision. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, praised Ross for announcing the decision to include a citizenship question, calling it a "reasonable, common sense addition to the census". Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who co-chairs the House Census Caucus, has introduced a bill that would to block the Commerce Secretary from implementing changes to the decennial census that have not been researched or tested at least three years before census day.

Some Republican lawmakers hailed the decision. GOP Sens. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Ted Cruz of Texas had sent a letter to the Commerce Department asking Ross to add the question.

"We strongly believe that adding an untested question on citizenship status at this late point in the decennial planning process would put the accuracy of the enumeration and success of the census in all communities at grave risk".

President Donald Trump's administration has requested that a controversial question about USA citizenship be added to the 2020 census, which has set critics abuzz with charges of illegality and undercounting. The citizenship data help agencies and policymakers evaluate immigration policy and understand how different immigrant groups are assimilated. The decision, the post read, was made following a request in December from Jeff Sessions' Department of Justice. Terri Ann Lowenthal, a census expert and former congressional staffer who worked on census oversight, called the move a mistake and predicted a number of legal challenges from advocacy groups.

"The inaccurate count would immediately be reflected in shifts of political representation and political power", says Wendy Weiser, director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice.

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