Oregon to Join Lawsuit Against Trump Administration Over Citizenship

A group of 18 state Attorney's General have joined the lawsuit, which calls questions of citizenship on the Census unconstitutional.

Posted: Apr. 3, 2018 11:26 AM
Updated: Apr. 3, 2018 11:36 AM

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon will be joining a lawsuit against the Trump Administration for adding citizenship questions to the 2020 Census, according to a statement from Oregon Attorney General Rosenblum on Tuesday.

The lawsuit comes from a coalition of 18 state Attorneys General, and argues that adding citizenship questions will reduce participation among immigrants. This would effectively result in an underestimation in the total populations of states with large immigrant population—which would have far-reaching consequences for those states, according to the statement from Rosenblum's office.

“The Census is part of the bedrock of our democracy. The U.S. Constitution guarantees an accurate census be taken every 10 years. Adding a citizenship question to the Census form has a deliberate and intended chilling effect on participation,” said Attorney General Rosenblum.

The Attorney General estimates that even a 1 percent undercount in the previous Census—conducted in 2010—would have resulted in $23 million less in federal funding for Oregon.

According to the statement, this lawsuit has been filed referencing the Enumeration Clause of the U.S. Constitution—arguing that the act of adding citizenship questions to the Census impedes "actual Enumeration," or a legitimate attempt to get an accurate count of all people in the U.S., regardless of citizenship status.

Under the Constitution, the U.S. Census Bureau has an obligation to determine the "whole number of persons in each state," according to the statement from Rosenblum's office.

“As state Attorneys General we are committed to making sure every voice is heard, and we believe that every person in America counts. Period,” said Attorney General Rosenblum.

A statement from the Trump Administration's Department of Commerce said that the decision to include questions of citizenship comes from a need to "provide complete and accurate census block level data"—motivated by a desire to measure the portion of the U.S. population that is legally eligible to vote under the Voting Rights Act.

The multistate lawsuit was led by the Attorney General of New York and joined by the Attorneys General of Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia; the cities of New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Providence, San Francisco, and Seattle; and the bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The full text of the lawsuit can be viewed below.

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