New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Tuesday that he will lead a multistate lawsuit to preserve a fair and accurate Census. The 2020 census will ask respondents whether they are United States citizens, the Commerce Department announced Monday. Proponents of the question say asking participants about their citizenship status in the decennial census would help enforce Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which aims to prevent voting rights violations.
Attorney General Schneiderman released the following statement:
“A fair and accurate count of all people in America is one of the federal government’s most solemn constitutional obligations. The Trump Administration’s reckless decision to suddenly abandon nearly 70 years of practice by demanding to know the citizenship status of each resident counted cuts to the heart of this sacred obligation – and will create an environment of fear and distrust in immigrant communities that would make impossible both an accurate Census and the fair distribution of federal tax dollars.
This move directly targets states like New York that have large, thriving immigrant populations – threatening billions of dollars in federal funding for New York as well as fair representation in Congress and the Electoral College.
My office will lead a multi-state lawsuit to protect New Yorkers, preserve a fair and accurate Census, and hold the Trump Administration accountable for violating both the 14th Amendment and the Enumeration Clause of the United States Constitution.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo also released a statement:
“The Trump administration’s decision to ask about citizenship on the U.S. Census is a gross political act that launches another missile at the heart of New York. Make no mistake: this decision is anti-immigrant and is intended only to serve the political agenda of those in power in Washington.
“This reckless question will undermine the accuracy and the legitimacy of Census data, which determines representation in Congress and the distribution of billions of dollars in federal aid. By leading to a misrepresentation of the number of New Yorkers, this question will jeopardize critical funding for New York’s health care, social services and other vital programs that benefit all New Yorkers.
“In New York, we believe our diversity is our greatest strength and that, unless you are Native American, we are all immigrants. With the Statue of Liberty raising her torch in our Harbor, we will never stop
fighting to uphold the values of inclusion and opportunity for all that built this state and this nation.”