White House defends citizenship question on US Census form as standard practice

White House defends citizenship question on US Census form as standard practice

White House defends citizenship question on US Census form as standard practice

"Including a citizenship question on the 2020 census is not just a bad idea - it is illegal". "The Trump Administration's plan to insert a new, untested question on citizenship will increase costs for American taxpayers and decrease the accuracy of the census itself".

The U.S. Commerce Department, which runs the Census Bureau, announced on Monday that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had made a decision to include the citizenship question after a Justice Department request based on a desire for better enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., said she would introduce legislation to stop the question from being included in the census.

"Notwithstanding the administration's rhetoric, we don't need a citizenship question on the 2020 census".

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra applied early on Tuesday for a court to rule that such a census question would violate the U.S. constitution. It helps communities determine where to build everything from schools and grocery stores to hospitals. "An undercount would threaten at least one of California's seats in the House of Representatives (and, by extension, an elector in the electoral college.) It would deprive California and its cities and counties of their fair share of billions of dollars in federal funds".

"Having citizenship data at the census block level will permit more effective enforcement of the VRA, and Secretary Ross determined that obtaining complete and accurate information to meet this legitimate government objective outweighed the limited potential adverse impacts", the statement said.

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Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who now serves as chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, said his organization will also challenge the decision in court, calling it "motivated purely by politics".

Critics ranging from Democratic officials to immigrant activists have warned that asking people about their citizenship would lower the response rate among immigrant and minority groups and have harmful political, economic and commercial implications by making the resulting census data inaccurate.

Opponents of a 2020 Census question about citizenship status say it could further discourage immigrants from participating in the count, especially when they are already fearful of how information could be used against them. "Between evidence that the administration is manipulating the census for political gain, and fear that the administration will use the census to harm immigrants, confidence in the integrity of the count could plummet". Multiple previous directors of the Census Bureau have warned against adding a question about immigration status back to the Census. He said he would be consulting with the state attorney general and possibly other states about filing or joining lawsuits.

Questions on citizenship have appeared in the past, but on the more frequent population surveys the census bureau carries out. Becerra and the group believe the question creates several constitutional problems because large immigrant groups could be underrepresented in the Census. Ross said the U.S. Department of Justice requested the change to determine possible violations of the Voting Rights Act.

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