Massachusetts may join suit over census question

Census Takers

Census Takers

"The Trump administration's decision to ask about citizenship on the U.S. Census is a gross political act that launches another missile at the heart of NY".

He stressed that the question poses no additional imposition because "census responses by law may only be used anonymously and for statistical purposes".

Democrats are joined in opposition by a coalition of former census directors.

The Trump administration has provoked threats of lawsuits and a backlash from senior Democrats after deciding to reinstate a controversial question about citizenship status in the next United States census.

Speaking at the White House press briefing on Tuesday, spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders argued that the question was backed by tradition.

Becerra and other critics argue that including the question in the once-a-decade census will discourage non-citizens from responding, leading to an undercount that could severely affect the distribution of federal funding and the drawing of congressional districts. But since the Voting Rights Act was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965, the citizenship question has never appeared on a census form.

It's true that some non-citizens who are here illegally and who otherwise would participate in the census probably won't participate in one that asks this question.

In announcing the decision Monday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the question should help identify possible voting rights transgressions. The question was originally requested by the Justice Department, Ross wrote.

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This pre-1950s approach to the census would, of course, lead to an undercount of the "actual Enumeration" required by the U.S. Constitution in Article I, Section 2 and the consequences would be far more serious than any brief discomfort of recent arrivals. And after the 2000 census, the long form was dropped from the decennial census and converted into the American Community Survey, a lengthy questionnaire that goes annually to about 3 million households.

The census also provides an essential set of data that is used by businesses and government in states and localities.

"With an inaccurate census, all those forecasts become inaccurate and the whole planning and process in business and government is impaired", says Wachter.

Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., at his first confirmation hearing for state attorney general on January 10. It helps communities determine where to build everything from schools and grocery stores to hospitals.

Civil and immigrant rights groups are also preparing to act in response to the Trump Administration's decision, including by lobbying Congress to intervene.

He said no evidence was provided to the agency that showed a citizenship question would decrease response rates among those who already "generally distrusted government and government information collection efforts, disliked the current administration, or feared law enforcement". Last week, Representative Carolyn Maloney (NY) and a handful of other Democrats introduced a bill (H.R. 5359) that would require that any new questions be "researched, studied, and tested" for at least 3 years. "Adding a question created to depress participation in certain communities is an assault on the foundations of this country".

That's why California - the state most likely to be messed with thanks to its size and number of undocumented immigrants - immediately filed suit Monday to stop the Trump administration's plan as a violation of the Constitution. "And the reality is that such a question would only do harm", Grewal said.

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