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California sues Trump administration over citizenship query in census
28 March 2018, 01:14 | Gordon Grant
The citizenship question will likely appear on the 2020 Census
The decision by the Commerce Department followed a request from the U.S. Department of Justice to reinstate the citizenship question.
"The objective is to determine individuals who are here", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Tuesday.
The last time such a question was on the decennial census was 1950, though the question is on the annual American Community Survey, which reaches several million people.
"I have no doubt that the Trump Administration is adding this question to try to suppress responses and diminish the count in states with large immigrant populations, like Massachusetts", Galvin said in a statement.
Critics of the move say that including such a question on a government survey will scare non-citizens and vulnerable immigrant communities into under-reporting, especially in the context of the Trump administration's hardline push to curtail illegal and legal immigration.
"This is something that has been part of the census for decades and something that the Department of Commerce felt strongly needed to be included again", she said. He also said it wouldn't overly burden the non-citizens because approximately 70 percent of them already answer the question correctly on the annual American Community Survey, an ongoing survey of US population that generates data that help determine how more than $675 billion in federal and state funds distributed every year. "The administration's claim that it is simply seeking to protect voting rights is not only laughable, but contemptible".
California's Attorney General has already announced that they're suing over the question.
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The United States Conference of Mayors said in a recent letter to Wilbur Ross, commerce secretary, that the citizenship question would "increase the burden on respondents, heighten privacy concerns. and lower participation by immigrants who fear that the government will use the information to harm them and their families". 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".
As early as September of previous year, months before the announcement that the question was a possibility, Census researchers spoke up about exactly these concerns.
The census has included a citizenship question in the past.
The US state of California has already filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration, arguing that the decision to add a question about citizenship in the 2020 Census violates the US Constitution. "An undercount would threaten at least one of California's seats in the House of Representatives (and, by extension, an elector in the electoral college.) It would deprive California and its cities and counties of their fair share of billions of dollars in federal funds".
The Commerce Department said the decision came after a "thorough review" of the request from the Justice Department. Holder calls the inclusion of the citizenship question "a direct attack on our representative democracy". Healey has not been shy about bringing lawsuits against the federal government when she believes USA policy under President Donald Trump will harm MA.
Attorney General Maura Healey is joining a multi-state lawsuit against the federal government after US officials made a decision to add a question about citizenship to the USA census in 2020.
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