Left-leaning states including Vermont sue to stop citizenship questions in Census

By Kevin Daley

A coalition of Democratic cities and states led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued the Trump administration Tuesday, claiming the addition of citizenship questions in the decennial census survey violates federal law and the Constitution.

The lawsuit says the inclusion of a citizenship question violates both the Constitution’s command to count all persons during the census and the Administrative Procedure Act. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the federal trial court in Manhattan.

“One of the federal government’s most solemn obligations is a fair and accurate count of all people in the country, citizen and non-citizen alike,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “With immigrant communities already living in fear, demanding citizenship status would drive them into the shadows, leading to a major undercount that threatens billions in federal funding for New York and our fair representation in Congress and the Electoral College.”

The plaintiffs claim the citizenship question “will fatally undermine the accuracy of the population count and cause tremendous harms to plaintiffs and their residents.” As such, they stand to lose federal funding and representation in the House of Representatives unless the citizenship question is removed from the questionnaire. They further allege the policy compromises their ability to comply with constitutional “one man, one vote” standards, which require equal populations among legislative districts.

The suit notes minority communities are typically undercounted in the census. An internal agency report cited in the filing found 1.5 million minorities went uncounted in the 2010 census. The addition of a citizenship question, they fear, will exacerbate this problem. 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.

They fear these risks are magnified by the administration’s hawkish immigration positions, which could incentivize noncitizens to lie on census forms or avoid the process altogether.

“These well-documented risks of adding a person-by-person citizenship demand to the decennial census are heightened in the current political climate because of President Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and this administration’s pattern of policies and actions that target immigrant communities,” the lawsuit reads.

It also criticizes the agency process by which the question was added, claiming the decision was made without informed, well-considered input and contravenes decades of established policy. Such action is arbitrary and capricious, in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.

The Trump administration will file its response in the coming days. In a memo to the undersecretary for economic affairs at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Secretary Wilbur Ross explained federal prosecutors need accurate and complete citizenship data to enforce voting rights laws. The Commerce Department oversees the Census Bureau.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders previously denied the decision was made at the president’s bidding.

The plaintiffs include New York, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington; and the cities of Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Providence, San Francisco, and Seattle; and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

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Image courtesy of U.S. Census Bureau

11 thoughts on “Left-leaning states including Vermont sue to stop citizenship questions in Census

    • Peter,
      That would be caravans of thousands people from Guatemala and Nicaragua, etc., who were promised easy ways to gain access to the US.

      The promoters of this scheme likely were financed by people without borders, etc., to basically turn the US into an even more dysfunctional nation.

      It is all part of a broad spectrum of Trump bashing.

      Trump called on the Mexican government’s to stop these caravans.

      Under Obama these caravans were common events.
      Obama encouraged it, because it would mean more Democrat vote in the future.

      Under Obama, those people would already be in the US.

      But under Trump, a true patriot, that is not going the happen.

  1. Conservatives should be alarmed when government begins to require personal information not required previously. Why are they willing to give up this freedom?

    • My citizenship is not my secret, it is public record, and I am proud and protective of it.

      They ask whether you have indoor plumbing! Lots of junk questions.

    • This question was ALWAYS asked before Obama removed it. As a REAL American, I want to know just who is in my country. Don’t you?

  2. California sure like their increased representation and federal benefits based on all their illegals. Why is this a Vermont question? Those counted deny citizens their equal representation under the law. It would be interesting to follow the money.

  3. I don’t mind answering a question about citizenship. Just like I don’t mind showing my ID to get a ballot.

  4. WHY Stop it , I would be nice to know exactly how many people we actually have with in
    our borders , No one knows it’s all a guess !! 10 – 20 million Illegals is one issue, the
    other how many are on the Government TIT.

    Or the good news how many actually contribute to the US, not just in taxes ??

    Those that oppose this head count , well what’s your motive ?? My thought is your Voter
    number will decline ……………

    It’s surely not about amnesty as the President offered it to 1.8 Million ( dreamers ) but
    the Left said NO, why !!

    So stand up and be counted or be deported !! All the crooks & criminals your going to
    get caught sooner or later .

  5. Perhaps the real reason Vermont is opposed to the alien question is that it will allow some of these folks to vote and when the do, guess who gets them.

    • Has anyone heard any logical discussion of WHO is actually eligible to vote in American Elections.

      Seems that the current assumption is that anyone on the bus
      can vote, anyone with any address can vote,

      Voting as I used to understand it is for CITIZENS, legal citizens ONLY

  6. A sincere suggestion;

    If various gov’t bodies wish to encourage illegal residents to be treated exactly the same as true citizens. Perhaps my emphasis should be illegal residents;.

    Then, all federal, or state gov’t support to these principalities should be based only on the legal citizens and legal guest census of the country. You get federal $$$$$$$$$ for your legal residents. But you get no upper level support for your chosen illegals. All costs for education, food, housing, health care, would be at the expense of the welcoming cities or states. That would put them in charge of collecting whatever $$$$ they can from the illegals.

    Makes the choices simple, keeps good track of the legal costs, legally collected taxes from legal citizens, and no one is required to pay for other areas chosen costs.

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