Health Care

17 states sue the Trump administration over census citizenship question

17 states sue the Trump administration over census citizenship question

Schneiderman announced a new lawsuit by seventeen states including Iowa, the District of Columbia and six cities against the US government Tuesday, saying a plan to add a citizenship demand to the census questionnaire is unconstitutional.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum says a move to include a question about citizenship on the 2020 census could wreak financial havoc on Oregon.

Census data is used to calculate the number of representatives each state gets in Congress, the number of votes each state gets in the Electoral College and funding for local governments in programs such as Medicaid, Head Start and the National School Lunch Program.

Any effort to ascertain citizenship will inevitably jeopardize the overall accuracy of the population count. Former U.S. Census Bureau directors of both parties have historically supported the exclusion of questions relating to citizenship and legal status on this basis.

Even a 1 percent undercount in the 2010 census would have resulted in a $23 million loss in federal funds, according to Rosenblum's office.

A government spokesman did not immediately comment on the filing. Census officials said last week that they hope to begin finalizing plans for the census this autumn, and delays in printing - not just census forms, but material to train workers who will ask questions, and public information brochures - could drive up costs.

As Snopes put it in their explainer on the subject: "It won't be the first time people are required to divulge their citizenship status on a US census form, but it will be the first time since 1950 that everyone is required to do so".

Henry Flores, a political scientist and voting rights expert at St. Mary's University in San Antonio, said that if the question generates an undercount, swing districts in the Texas Legislature could become "more solidly safe", for Republicans, despite a growing population of Hispanics, who lean toward Democrats. The attorneys general argue that the citizenship question will impede an actual count required by the Constitution.

The census is taken every 10 years.

New Mexico along with 17 other states and seven cities, including Washington DC, is suing the Trump Administration over the census question.

All 36 of Oregon's counties are participating in the address validation process, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, as are over 200 OR cities. It is also brought under the Administrative Procedure Act, which permits courts to set aside unlawful or arbitrary and capricious agency decisions.