NY AG files suit to block citizenship question in 2020 Census

Census citizenship question will spark fear in immigrants, Schneiderman says as states file suit

In Philadelphia, non-citizens pay approximately $6 billion in taxes each year and immigrant-owned businesses contribute significantly to Main Street business growth.

Since1970, citizenship questions have been limited the relatively small percentage of households (between 2.5 and 17 percent, depending on when we're talking about) receiving American Community Survey and, before that, the "long form" Census versus the 80-percent plus receiving the standard Census questionnaire (without naturalization questions). "What all communities need instead is an accurate count".

Even a 1 percent undercount in the 2010 census would have resulted in a $23 million loss in federal funds, according to Rosenblum's office.

The lawsuit was filed in Manhattan federal court, and challenged the U.S. Department of Commerce's alleged "unconstitutional and arbitrary decision" to add the citizenship question. In 1933, Pennsylvania had 36 House seats; today it has just 18. Tacking on this citizenship question seems to fall directly into that category. The Department of Justice asked the Commerce Department to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, saying it needed better information to better enforce Section 2 the Voting Rights Act, the landmark 1965 law created to protect the voting power of minorities.

Citizenship has not been a census question since 1950.

The state attorneys general are concerned the question will discourage immigrants from participating. But New York and other states are alleging that adding the question is unconstitutional because it would undermine the government's constitutional responsibility of counting every person living in the US every 10 years. Former U.S. Census Bureau directors of both parties have historically supported the exclusion of questions relating to citizenship and legal status on this basis.

By one estimate, as many as 24.3 million people may not respond to the Census if it includes a citizenship question.

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-New York, is calling for hearings on her bill, which is aimed at addressing concerns about "the recent actions of the Trump Administration" and "its commitment to fulfill the Constitutional mandate to conduct a fair, equitable, and complete count of the nation", in the 2020 census.

Rather than invoking federal anti-discrimination law, however, the three-count complaint charges the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Bureau of the Census and their leaders with violating the Constitution's enumeration clause and the Administrative Procedure Act. He argues that intent is at odds with the U.S. Constitution's command that the census count every person in the United States. The lawsuit also emphasizes the irreparable harm that will result from inaccuracies in the 2020 Census caused by demanding citizenship information.

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