Massachusetts may join suit over census question

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The state of California will sue the Trump administration over the upcoming 2020 census and its inclusion of a question about USA citizenship, California state attorney general Xavier Becerra said Monday night.

Mr Becerra said it violated the U.S. constitution, as those who are undocumented migrants would fear coming forward and so would stop the federal government from being able to conduct a full count of the USA population.

The Commerce Department announced the question would be added to the 2020 Census on Monday night, saying it will help enforce the Voting Rights Act.

On Monday, the U.S. Commerce Department announced the reinstatement of the citizenship status question for the 2020 census. Galvin called the decision an attempt to suppress the count in states such as MA that have large immigrant populations.

"This untimely, unnecessary, and untested citizenship question will disrupt planning at a critical point, undermine years of painstaking preparation, and increase costs significantly, putting a successful, accurate count at risk", the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights said in a statement.

The census is mandated under the United States constitution and takes place every 10 years, counting every resident. Within hours of the announcement, the Attorney General of California announced he was filing a lawsuit to try to stop the question from being included.

"Innocuous at first blush, its effect would be truly insidious", he wrote in a joint op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle with the California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. "It would discourage noncitizens and their citizen family members from responding to the census, resulting in a less accurate population count".

"It is imperative that the data gathered in the census is reliable, given the wide ranging impacts it will have on USA policy", Mr Cruz said in a press release issued by the three.

The question asks, "Are you a US citizen?". Multiple previous directors of the Census Bureau have warned against adding a question about immigration status back to the Census.

The Trump administration has provoked threats of lawsuits and a backlash from senior Democrats after deciding to reinstate a controversial question about citizenship status in the next U.S. census.

The question has not been on the full decennial census since the 1950s, but does appear on the yearly American Community Survey administered by the Census Bureau to give a fuller picture of life in America and the population.

Because the once-a-decade census is used to determine congressional and political districts and to dole out federal resources, an undercount in heavily immigrant areas could substantially impact certain states and major cities and potentially their representation at the federal level.

Former U.S. Attorney Eric Holder has described the Trump administration action as a "direct attack on our representative democracy" and we inclined to agree.

President Donald Trump has made a hardline approach to unauthorised immigrants a signature feature of his administration, consistent with his own campaign pledges. It helps determine the number of seats each state has in the House and how federal money is distributed to local communities.

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