Thursday, December 13, 2018

California sues the Trump Administration over citizenship question on Census

Progressives, states and civil rights advocates are preparing a flurry of legal challenges to the Trump administration’s decision to add a question about citizenship to the next census, saying the move will penalize immigrants and threaten civil rights.

“The citizenship question is the latest attempt by President Trump to stoke the fires of anti-immigrant hostility,” California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said in a statement.”

The question has not been on the census since the 1950s, and the Commerce Department said the decision came after a “thorough review” of the request from the Justice Department. The priority, Commerce said, was “obtaining complete and accurate data.”

The state of California immediately challenged the plan in federal court. Former Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder also blasted the move and said his organization, which focuses on voting enfranchisement and redistricting, would also pursue litigation against what he called an “irresponsible decision.”

Critics of the move say that including such a question on a government survey will scare non-citizens and vulnerable immigrant communities into under-reporting. 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.

“Our Constitution requires a complete and accurate count of everyone living in the country, no matter her or his citizenship status. The administration’s decision to add a citizenship question is at best a dramatic misstep, and at worst a politically-motivated move that will undermine a fair and accurate census,” Weiser said. “This question is a dangerous 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. We urge the administration to reconsider.”

CNN