Iowa joins lawsuit against Census citizenship question

18 States Sue Trump Administration Over Census Citizenship Question

Frosh has joined 17 state attorneys general in filing a lawsuit against the US Department of Commerce and the Census Bureau challenging the decision to put a question about citizenship on the census questionnaire in 2020.

"The Trump Administration's decision to demand citizenship information is an attempt to intimidate voters and to suppress the vote", said Attorney General Frosh.

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"Adding an untested citizenship question at this point would sabotage the accuracy of the 2020 Census and threaten federal funding for critical programs in MA", said AG Healey. He added that it would end a longstanding bipartisan effort to ensure the census is accurate and that the Bureau of the Census carries out its mandate to conduct a full and fair count of the population, including citizens and non-citizens.

The plaintiffs claim the citizenship question "will fatally undermine the accuracy of the population count and cause tremendous harms to plaintiffs and their residents". The Department of Justice argued that the collection of such information was necessary to ensure proper enforcement of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

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The point of the census, the lawsuit noted, is to determine "the whole number of persons in each state", but inquiring about citizenship status, these AGs said, would reduce participation among immigrants. Congress has a long history of using the census as a tool to preserve white political power, undercounting minority populations in order to maintain the perception that whites will always be the majority in America.

The lawsuit filed today is brought under the Enumeration Clause of the U.S. Constitution, as this action by the Trump administration will impede an "actual Enumeration" required by the Constitution. It hasn't happened and will not happen, as the U.S. Census Bureau has stated that individual data will not be released. "This would result in a count that is not truly representative of our population", said Mayor Jim Kenney in a statement on Tuesday. As such, they stand to lose federal funding and representation in the House of Representatives unless the citizenship question is removed from the questionnaire. In 2009, all eight former Census directors stemming back to 1979 objected to a proposal to add citizenship and immigration questions to the Census, warning that even lawfully present immigrants might "avoid enumerators because one or more other household members are present unlawfully". "For decades, administrations from both parties have treated this constitutional requirement with the respect and reverence it deserves".

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The US Department of Commerce said in a release that citizenship questions had been included on previous censuses. As for Medicaid, "Oregon received $3.64 billion in reimbursement under the Medicaid program, and an additional 1% undercount on the 2010 Census would have resulted in losses of over $44 million in federal funding".

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