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12 states to put Trump administration in dock

NJ state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal

NEW YORK, NY — Twelve states have agreed to sign onto a lawsuit which seeks to block a question about citizenship being asked on the 2020 Census, stating that the query violates the Constitution, which mandates that all residents of the US must be counted, regardless of immigration status.

New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said on March 27 he would lead a multistate lawsuit to block the decision. Separately, the state of California filed a lawsuit on March 27 with the District Court of Northern California.

New Jersey state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, who is Indian American, has announced that his state would join Schneiderman’s lawsuit.

“Notwithstanding the Administration’s rhetoric, we don’t need a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. And the reality is that such a question would only do harm,” said Grewal.

“Particularly in the current national climate, a citizenship question will obviously cause great consternation and discourage participation in the Census. That lack of participation will inevitably have far-reaching, negative effects – particularly in New Jersey, where we have the third largest percentage of immigrants in the country,” said Grewal, the first Sikh American attorney general in the nation.

Commerce Department Secretary announced late night on March 26 that the 2020 Census form would include a question regarding citizenship.

“Having citizenship data at the Census block level will permit more effective enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. Obtaining complete and accurate information to meet this legitimate government purpose outweighs the limited potential adverse impacts,” said Ross in a press statement.

The announcement has unleashed a volley of ire in the immigrant community, which believes that asking about citizenship will discourage minority communities from participating, leading to a huge undercount.

The last time the Census included a question about citizenship was in 1950.

Several civil rights organizations immediately denounced Ross’s announcement. “Ross is simply trying to shrink-wrap a respectable label on a bottle filled with Trump’s poisonous partisan agenda,” said Indian American Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, during a conference call with reporters on March 27.