Citizenship question added to 2020 U.S. Census

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the 2020 census and the addition of a question on citizenship (all times local):

3 p.m.

The White House says the decision to include a citizenship question in the 2020 U.S. Census was not made in the West Wing.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders says the White House "supports" the decision but it "was made at the department level."

The Commerce Department, which oversees the Census, says it is including the question in part to provide the Justice Department with the information it needs to implement the Voting Rights Act.

The decision is being protested by immigrant rights groups, who contend the citizenship question will depress responses from immigrant communities, skewing the results of the decennial Census.

Sanders says she is not aware of any specific outreach efforts being planned to encourage immigrants to respond to the survey.


2:35 p.m.

New York will lead a coalition of blue states in a lawsuit against the Trump administration over a decision to include a citizenship question on the 2020 U.S. Census.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, announced the lawsuit Tuesday. He said the question asking residents about their citizenship status will create fear and mistrust in immigrant communities and could skew census results if some immigrants choose not to participate.

Officials in other heavily Democratic states including New Jersey, Massachusetts and California have said they will sue over the census question.

Schneiderman says the decision to add the question "directly targets" states with large immigrant populations.

The census results are the basis for each state's number of seats in the U.S. House as well as its share of federal funding.


10:25 a.m.

Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin, a Democrat, tells The Associated Press that he expects his state would also join in a lawsuit against the Trump administration over the decision to include a citizenship question on the 2020 U.S. Census. Galvin called the decision an attempt to suppress the count in states such as Massachusetts that have large immigrant populations.

Galvin called the addition of a citizenship question "a blatant attempt by the Trump administration to frighten minority groups away from being counted." He said he would be consulting with the state attorney general and possibly other states about filing or joining lawsuits.

California has already said it will sue the Trump administration over the decision.

Massachusetts has an all-Democratic congressional delegation and its Electoral College votes have gone to the Democratic presidential nominee in 13 of the last 15 presidential elections.


12 a.m.

The Commerce Department says the 2020 U.S. Census will include a question about citizenship status.

Commerce says in a press release issued Monday night that the citizenship data will help the Justice Department enforce the Voting Rights Act, which protects minority voting rights.

But opponents say the question will discourage immigrants from responding to the census. A coalition of state attorneys general urged the Commerce Department last month to not add such a question, saying it could lower participation among immigrants and cause a population undercount.

The decennial census helps determine political representation in Congress, federal funding of programs and other matters.

Commerce says that between 1820 and 1950, almost every decennial census asked a question on citizenship in some form.

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