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California sues Trump administration over census question

28 March, 2018, 01:13 | Author: Melinda Barton
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Critics have charged that the Census is supposed to count all United States residents, including illegal aliens, who are believed less likely to respond to forms in the mail that include a citizenship question.

"The goal is to determine individuals who are here", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Tuesday.

"The reinstatement of a citizenship question will not decrease the response rate of residents who already declined not to respond", Ross wrote in a memo released Monday, brushing off concerns about lower participation.

Democratic states with large immigrant populations argue a citizenship question will produce undercounts because fewer people will participate.

The Justice Department said in a statement it was important to restore the use of a citizenship question in the 10-year census because it is used for redistricting purposes and the yearly survey is not the most appropriate data to use for that goal.

The Trump administration's plan to include a controversial question about citizenship status to the upcoming 2020 census is sparking a backlash from civil rights groups and Democratic lawmakers.

A citizenship question hasn't appeared on the census form since 1950, according to the Commerce Department. 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.

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.


Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that the Voting Rights Act required a tally of citizens of voting age to ensure that minority groups were not discriminated against.

Carolyn Malone, a Democrat who represents part of New York City, said the move was "politically motivated" as it could strengthen the Republican Party's position in future elections.

As early as September of past year, months before the announcement that the question was a possibility, Census researchers spoke up about exactly these concerns.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the state would file a lawsuit challenging what he called an "illegal" move.

His agency has until the end of this month to submit a final list of 2020 census questions to Congress.

In an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle published before the commerce department's decision, Mr Becerra said adding the citizenship question would be "an extraordinary attempt by the Trump administration to hijack the 2020 census for political purposes".

President Donald Trump has made a hardline approach to unauthorised immigrants a signature feature of his administration, consistent with his own campaign pledges. It is used to determine the allocation to states of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and to distribute billions of dollars in federal funds to local communities. "This lack of national citizenship data on a par with census population data presents several quandaries for voting rights law", Persily said.

Commerce says that between 1820 and 1950, nearly every decennial census asked a question on citizenship in some form.

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