On Tuesday, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced he would bring yet another lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s administration after the Commerce Department said it would inquire about citizenship on the 2020 Census:
Today, I am leading 18 AGs, six cities, and the bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors and filing a multi-state lawsuit to block the Trump administration’s blatant effort to undermine the Census. #SaveTheCensus https://t.co/iM9litbbb2 pic.twitter.com/GfE3mrtAWr
— Eric Schneiderman (@AGSchneiderman) April 3, 2018
Schneiderman led a group of 18 attorneys general in the lawsuit, which argues that the citizenship inquiry would result in “irreparable harm.”
“Inaccurate counts can potentially deprive states of much-needed funds designed to protect low-income and vulnerable communities,” the AG’s office said in a press release.
Attorneys general from Connecticut, Illinois, New Mexico, New Jersey, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Iowa, Delaware, Maryland, Oregon, North Carolina, Virginia, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia joined the suit.
When the Trump administration announced its decision in March, it faced questions about the new policy’s impact on immigrants. The Commerce Department argued the decision would help the administration enforce the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and protect minorities’ rights.
But Schneiderman, like others, worried that the inquiry would depress immigrants’ participating in the census:
Any effort to ascertain citizenship will inevitably jeopardize the overall accuracy of the population count. Obtaining the cooperation of a suspicious and fearful population would be impossible if the group being counted perceived any possibility of the information being used against them. Questions as to citizenship are particularly sensitive in minority communities and would inevitably trigger hostility, resentment, and refusal to cooperate.
The AG’s office claimed that asking about citizenship was “inconsistent with the Census Bureau’s constitutional and statutory obligations.”