NY to lead multi-state effort to block question about citizenship in new Census

Staff Reports Posted 28 March 2018 at 8:02 am

The upcoming Census 2020 intends to add a question about citizenship. Several states plan to sue, saying the change will result in a deliberate undercount and also violate the Constitution.

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced on Tuesday that he will lead a multistate lawsuit to block the change in the Census.

“A fair and accurate count of all people in America is one of the federal government’s most solemn constitutional obligations,” he said in a statement. “The Trump Administration’s reckless decision to suddenly abandon nearly 70 years of practice by demanding to know the citizenship status of each resident counted cuts to the heart of this sacred obligation – and will create an environment of fear and distrust in immigrant communities that would make impossible both an accurate Census and the fair distribution of federal tax dollars.”

The Census is done every 10 years and should count everyone, whether they are citizens or not. An undercount can result in less federal aid to communities, and also affect how boundaries are drawn for Congressional districts.

“This move directly targets states like New York that have large, thriving immigrant populations – threatening billions of dollars in federal funding for New York as well as fair representation in Congress and the Electoral College,” Schneiderman said. “My office will lead a multi-state lawsuit to protect New Yorkers, preserve a fair and accurate Census, and hold the Trump Administration accountable for violating both the 14th Amendment and the Enumeration Clause of the United States Constitution.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the citizenship question will undermine the accuracy and legitamcy of the Census data.

“The Trump administration’s decision to ask about citizenship on the U.S. Census is a gross political act that launches another missile at the heart of New York,” the governor said in a statement. “Make no mistake: this decision is anti-immigrant and is intended only to serve the political agenda of those in power in Washington.”

A misrepresentation of the number of New Yorkers will jeopardize critical funding for New York’s health care, social services and other programs that benefit all New Yorkers, Cuomo said.

“In New York, we believe our diversity is our greatest strength and that, unless you are Native American, we are all immigrants,” Cuomo said. “With the Statue of Liberty raising her torch in our Harbor, we will never stop fighting to uphold the values of inclusion and opportunity for all that built this state and this nation.”

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