A new lawsuit accuses the Trump administration of starving the U.S. Bureau of the Census of funding necessary to conduct an accurate 2020 census, likely resulting in an undercounting of racial and ethnic minorities.
In a complaint filed on Tuesday, the nonprofit Center for Popular Democracy Action and the city of Newburgh, New York, accused the government of drastically and arbitrarily reducing resources to count blacks, Hispanics and other members of so-called “hard-to-count” communities.
The plaintiffs want to set aside decisions that they said will slash the number of enumerators and field offices, reduce help on questionnaires, and spend less on community outreach.
Census data are used to award billions of dollars of federal funds, and determine political representation.
The defendants include the U.S. Department of Commerce and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, as well as the Census Bureau and its director, Steven Dillingham.
Neither the Commerce Department nor the Census Bureau immediately responded to requests for comment. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Manhattan.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York)