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18 attorneys general and 6 cities file lawsuit against Commerce Department


"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.

The lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, argues that adding the citizenship demand to the 2020 census questionnaire was an arbitrary decision that will "fatally undermine the accuracy of the population count".

Attorney General Josh Stein on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the United States government over the addition of a question about citizenship on the 2020 census, according to a press release.

"For decades, administrations from both parties have treated this constitutional requirement with the respect and reverence it deserves", he continued.

Other states that have signed onto the lawsuit led by NY include Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

The issue was thrust into the national spotlight last week when the Commerce Department announced its decision to include the "citizenship" question on the upcoming census; prompting liberal lawmakers to question the Trump administration's motives behind the move.

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Asking about citizenship used to be standard on the full decennial census up through the middle of the 20th century. The resultant population undercount would jeopardize the Census Bureau's ability to determine how many people are in each state, threatening states' fair representation in Congress and the Electoral College.

The cities of New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Providence, San Francisco and Seattle are also plaintiffs, as is the bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors.

To the extent that the Voting Rights Act requires a calculation of the number of eligible voters in a given jurisdiction, the Census Bureau already provides an adequate-and far less intrusive-source of citizenship information based on sampling from surveys such as the American Community Survey. "I am filing this lawsuit to ensure that immigrants in IL are represented fairly and accurately". "Questions as to citizenship are particularly sensitive in minority communities and would inevitably trigger hostility, resentment and refusal to cooperate".

The NAACP has said the plans for the census will lead to a massive undercounting of blacks.

The lawsuit also emphasizes the irreparable harm that will result from inaccuracies in the 2020 census caused by demanding citizenship information. Consequently, inaccurate counts can potentially deprive states of much-needed funds created to protect low-income and vulnerable communities. "We are being unfairly targeted because we have large, diverse immigrant populations which we welcome and support".

All of the states bringing the case have Democratic attorneys general.

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