Need to Know: Trump Adds Citizenship Question to Census, Faces Lawsuits From Twelve States
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Attorney generals from at least 12 states are preparing to file lawsuits against the Trump administration this week, after the president’s Department of Commerce announced Monday that the 2020 U.S. census would request the citizenship status of every respondent.
According to the New York Times, attorney generals from Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Washington will join New York AG Eric Schneiderman in a multistate lawsuit against the president, while California is filing its own suit challenging the constitutionality of the recently added citizenship question.
Every 10 years, all American residents are required to fill out a census form, offering crucial demographic information to the federal government that influences everything from Congressional districts to school boards to grant funding for state-level programs. Critics of the new question say such a request is both unconstitutional and directly aimed at reducing immigrant participation in the census.
“The census numbers provide the backbone for planning how our communities can grow and thrive in the coming decade,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said after the addition of the citizenship question was confirmed Monday. “What the Trump administration is requesting is not just alarming, it is an unconstitutional attempt to discourage an accurate census count.”
In Massachusetts, Attorney General Maura Healey reiterated that sentiment, calling the Department of Commerce’s action, which came at the direct request of the White House, entirely illegal.
“The census is supposed to count everyone,” AG Healey told the Times. “This is a blatant and illegal attempt by the Trump administration to undermine that goal, which will result in an undercount of the population and threaten federal funding for our state and cities.”
Since taking office, Trump has focused a significant amount of his time and energy persecuting immigrant populations. In