New York Launches Lawsuit to Remove Citizenship Query From US Census

28 March, 2018, 00:39 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Census Takers

I'm not sure about the California Secretary of State, but the Attorney General is supposed to be a lawyer and something of an expert on the law, right?

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Monday night announced the decision to include the citizenship question over the objections of Democrats and civil rights groups in a post on the Commerce Department website. The new question comes at the request of the Justice Department which said it was needed to better enforce the Voting Rights Act.

He also says the question is illegal in California.

Xavier Becerra, California's attorney-general, said after the announcement that he would be taking legal action against the move, which he described as illegal.

The Trump administration is threatening to derail the integrity of the census by seeking to add a question relating to citizenship to the 2020 census questionnaire.

Law professor Nathaniel Persily identified some of issues related to the Voting Rights Act in a 2011 law review article for the Cardozo Law Review.

Former Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder also blasted the move and said his organization, which focuses on voting enfranchisement and redistricting, would also pursue litigation against what he called an "irresponsible decision". Further, he pointed out that the American Community Survey asks more than three million people about their status every year and the full census did so up until 1950. "Make no mistake - this decision is motivated purely by politics".

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More than anything, the move should be recognized as an action to show solidarity with our western allies. They accused Moscow of launching a chemical attack against a Russian ex-spy in Britain earlier this month.

In a related matter, Ross's memo asserts that a question on citizenship has always been a fixture of the decennial census and that he is simply "reinstating" it.

The multi-state lawsuit will argue that a citizenship question would have precisely the opposite effect, driving down participation in immigrant communities.

If non-citizens in MA don't answer the census honestly, or at all, said Galvin, that will affect the population numbers for the state - which would then affect representation in Congress as well as access to federal funds for transportation or education, among other things, that are linked to population size. Since then, the question has only been included on the "long-form" survey, a survey that is sent to a smaller sample of people to collect demographic data on the population.

"This is a question that's been included in every census since 1965, with the exception of 2010, when it was removed", she said. The priority, Commerce said, was "obtaining complete and accurate data".

Cuomo raised the possibility that the census question will "undermine the accuracy and legitimacy of Census data".

Officials in other heavily Democratic states including New Jersey, Massachusetts and California have said they will sue over the census question. Mr Trump's rhetoric and his efforts to end an Obama-era programme that shielded unauthorised "dreamer" immigrants from deportation have increased fears among many people living in the USA illegally. "What the Trump administration is requesting is not just alarming, it is an unconstitutional attempt to discourage an accurate census count". "I think the significant funding boost reflects a bipartisan recognition among lawmakers that the success of the census in all of their districts and states could be in jeopardy and that it is their responsibility to ensure a good outcome". He argued that the Constitution required the federal government to make an accurate count of citizen and noncitizen population, and that the administration's move violated federal law because it was "arbitrary and capricious".

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