Sabotaged Census: Citizenship question guarantees undercount

Census Takers

Article 1, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution calls for a census to be taken every decade for the goal of apportioning seats to the House of Representatives, according to the number of "free persons" residing in each state.

Schneiderman says the decision to add the question "directly targets" states with large immigrant populations. "The administration's claim that it is simply seeking to protect voting rights is not only laughable, but contemptible".

"They don't care about the accuracy of the census". NY plans to lead a multi-state lawsuit, he said.

Opponents of the change to the Census worry that the administration's aggressive rhetoric has already made immigrants less willing to respond to government surveys, and that adding a question which asks if they are USA citizens will further depress their participation.

Democrats quickly expressed their opposition, questioning the constitutionality of the citizenship question.

Xavier Becerra, California's attorney-general, said after the announcement that he would be taking legal action against the move, which he described as illegal.

The Trump administration has provoked threats of lawsuits and a backlash from senior Democrats after deciding to reinstate a controversial question about citizenship status in the next USA census.

In an eight-page memo Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says the Justice Department has requested that the census ask who is a citizen in order to help determine possible violations of the Voting Rights Act, to help enforce that law...

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Ross noted the concerns about lower response rates, including from the Census Bureau itself, but said his department's own review "found that limited empirical evidence exists about whether adding a citizenship question would decrease response rates materially".

In a statement, the Commerce Department pointed to previous census questions as justification for the shift.

Healey has the support of Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin, who has accused the Trump administration of "sabotaging" the census.

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called the decision to add the question a deception by the Trump administration.

It would mean that congressional districts would not be accurately drawn, federal education funding would be skewed, health statistics often used for medical research would be out of whack and various federal programs that dole out benefits based on population from roads and law enforcement to farm aid would be made unfair.

Ross wrote that he has chose to place a citizenship question on the census, while also asking the federal government to update its administrative records so the two can be matched.

"The Justice Department is committed to free and fair elections for all Americans and has sought reinstatement of the citizenship question on the census to fulfil that commitment", the department statement read. "This question is a unsafe move that could lead to a serious skewing of the final census results, which would have a deleterious effect on our system of representative democracy". It helps determine the number of seats each state has in the House and how federal money is distributed to local communities. Healey has not been shy about bringing lawsuits against the federal government when she believes US policy under President Donald Trump will harm MA.

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