Healey Says Mass. Will Sue Trump Administration Over Census Change

Census Bureau Director Robert Groves announces results for the 2010 U.S. Census at the National Press Club Tuesday Dec. 21 2010 in Washington

"Innocuous at first blush, its effect would be truly insidious", he wrote in a joint op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle with the California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. Asking census respondents if they are citizens would help the government gather now unavailable data on the population of people who are actually eligible to vote, the memorandum said.

After months of preparation-and despite plenty of pushback-Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced Monday night that the 2020 Census will include a question about respondents' immigration status. "This is something that has been part of the census for decades and something that the Department of Commerce felt strongly needed to be included again".

Ross has said the citizenship question won't decrease the census' response rate.

NY will lead a coalition of blue states in a lawsuit against the Trump administration over a decision to include a citizenship question on the 2020 U.S. Census. It helps communities determine where to build everything from schools and grocery stores to hospitals.

The department said: "Secretary Ross determined that obtaining complete and accurate information to meet this legitimate government objective outweighed the limited potential adverse impacts".

Wendy Weiser, director of the Brennan Center's Democracy Program, a nonprofit that works on issues of justice and civil rights, said the question had no place in the Census.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a statement on Tuesday slamming a decision to include a question about citizenship status on the 2020 U.S. Census. He argued that collecting citizenship data has been a "long-standing historical practice" and continues among sample populations in the regular Census "to this day". "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".

Democrats have vowed to fight the inclusion of the question, viewing the decision as another front in the Trump administration's ongoing war with California over illegal immigration and the state's passage of so-called sanctuary laws that limit local law enforcement communication with federal immigration authorities. "A question on citizenship is a reasonable, commonsense addition to the census".

Representative Carolyn Maloney introduced legislation last week that would prohibit the commerce secretary from enacting any major operational design that had not been researched and tested for less than three years prior to the opening day of the census. "What the Trump Administration is requesting is not just alarming, it is an unconstitutional attempt to discourage an accurate census count".

The citizenship question was asked in many 20th century censuses.

Attorney General Maura Healey's office said Tuesday that the Democrat will join a multi-state lawsuit led by New York's attorney general.

The question has not been on the full decennial census since the 1950s, but does appear on the yearly American Community Survey administered by the Census Bureau to give a fuller picture of life in America and the population. The move comes after a 2017 request by the Justice Department to include the question.

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