Oregon Joins Suit To Block Immigration Inquiries On 2020 Census

Georgia Reed
April 5, 2018

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman led a multistate coalition in filing a lawsuit Tuesday to block the Trump administration from including a question on citizenship in the 2020 census, amid escalating rhetoric from Democrats and immigration activists on the question.

With North Carolina's growing immigrant population, advocates say adding a citizenship question will result in an inaccurate count of the people in the state.

A "who's who" of NY politics were also on hand at Tuesday's announcement to highlight how the census results determine where $700 billion of federal funding goes.

The lawsuit says the inclusion of a citizenship question violates both the Constitution's command to count all persons during the census, and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

In a new Rasmussen Reports poll, almost two-in-three Americans, or about 66 percent, said the U.S. Census should ask respondents whether they are citizens of the country.

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 dispute arises from the Department of Commerce's decision last month to ask about respondents' citizenship on the upcoming census.

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Asking such a question, the lawsuit alleges, would depress participation in states with large immigrant populations, undermining the accuracy of the census.

All households were last asked about US citizenship in the 1950 Census, although "some version of the question has been asked in almost every census - either through the now-defunct "long form" or the ongoing annual surveys", in subsequent decades, according to PolitiFact.com.

The lawsuit deems the move to add a citizenship question as an "unconstitutional and arbitrary decision".

Under the Constitution, the U.S. Census Bureau has an obligation to determine "the whole number of persons in each state". As such, they stand to lose federal funding and representation in the House of Representatives unless the citizenship question is removed from the questionnaire.

The census is taken every 10 years.

Introduced by her nickname La Luchadora (The Fighter), Rep. Nydia Velasquez, D-N.Y., referenced Trump's campaign slogan in denouncing the question as a "blatant, racist attempt to 'Make America White'". The District uses US census information to draw boundaries for wards, Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, and voting precincts.

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