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 USA census.
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. "Our objective is to have this citizenship question - which arbitrarily ignores decade after decade of our nation's regular census practices - not included in the 2020 Census".
A frequent critic of the Trump administration, Cuomo said the citizenship question is anti-immigrant and another attack on NY.
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California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement that the state will sue the Trump administration over its decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. It helps communities determine where to build everything from schools and grocery stores to hospitals.
"This undercount would frustrate the Census Bureau's obligation under the Constitution to determine "the whole number of persons in each state, ' threaten our states" fair representation in Congress, dilute our states' role in the Electoral College, and deprive our states of their fair share of hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funds that are allocated in part on decennial Census data", the attorneys general argued.
"Having citizenship data at the census block level will permit more effective enforcement of the VRA, and Secretary Ross determined that obtaining complete and accurate information to meet this legitimate government objective outweighed the limited potential adverse impacts", the statement said. "If you drive those people out of the Census, the effect is that they're not in it".
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The US Department of Commerce, which oversees the Census Bureau, said late on Monday it would bring back the citizenship question, in defiance of warnings that doing so would deter millions of people from participating in the count.
"Having citizenship data at the census block level will permit more effective enforcement of the VRA", a statement from the Department of Commerce reads. "It would discourage noncitizens and their citizen family members from responding to the census, resulting in a less accurate population count", they wrote. "Between evidence that the administration is manipulating the census for political gain, and fear that the administration will use the census to harm immigrants, confidence in the integrity of the count could plummet". Galvin called the decision an attempt to suppress the count in states such as MA that have large immigrant populations.
Critics say asking about citizenship status will decrease participation in the census by non-citizens at a time when, they say, many fear an increased national anti-immigration sentiment and threats against immigrants from the administration. We have no idea how the untested insertion of a citizenship question will affect public cooperation. NY plans to lead a multi-state lawsuit, he said.
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The question has not been on the full decennial census since the 1950s, but does appear on the yearly American Community Survey administered by the Census Bureau to give a fuller picture of life in America and the population.