Census to include controversial question on citizenship status

Census to include controversial question on citizenship status

New Jersey will join a multi-state coalition in suing the federal government to block the inclusion of a proposed citizenship question in the 2020 U.S. Census, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Tuesday.

"I personally spoke with Secretary Ross about this issue, and I am very disappointed that he appears to be disregarding the views of Republican and Democratic experts - including six former census directors - and is instead rushing ahead with a politically-motivated decision that will jeopardize the full, fair, and accurate count our Constitution demands", he said in a statement Tuesday.

The U.S. Commerce Department, which runs the Census Bureau, announced on Monday that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had chose to include the citizenship question after a Justice Department request based on a desire for better enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. NY plans to lead a multi-state lawsuit, he said.

The Commerce Department said that between 1820 and 1950, nearly every decennial census asked a question on citizenship in some form. We already have a pretty good idea where undocumented immigrants live, and so does the Trump administration, which is what makes it so clear what the actual motivation is: messing with congressional districts.

But advocates for immigrants, and for states like MA with large immigrant populations, said immigrants would be less likely to fill out the census if they had to answer a question on citizenship.

The census is mandated under the USA constitution and takes place every 10 years, counting every resident.

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"Innocuous at first blush, its effect would be truly insidious", he wrote in a joint op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle with the California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. "We will sue to ensure a fair and accurate Census that counts the people of MA".

"It is imperative that the data gathered in the census is reliable, given the wide ranging impacts it will have on U.S. policy", Mr Cruz said in a press release issued by the three. "This lack of national citizenship data on a par with census population data presents several quandaries for voting rights law", Persily said. 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". A group of 19 Democratic attorneys-general told Mr Ross this month that including the question would be unconstitutional.

That question is now included on the American Community Survey, which offers a more detailed read on the state of the USA population and replaced a different long-form questionnaire in the 2010 census.

"This reckless question will undermine the accuracy and the legitimacy of Census data, which determines representation in Congress and the distribution of billions of dollars in federal aid".

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

President Donald Trump has made a hardline approach to unauthorised immigrants a signature feature of his administration, consistent with his own campaign pledges. The Census Bureau now asks about place of birth, citizenship and year of entry on a separate survey conducted every year called the American Community Survey, sampling only a portion of the population.

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