The decision of the government, to question people if they are citizens of the United States in the 2020 census, will be fought over and put a stop to, by several states including New York and California. The declaration was made on Tuesday, highlighting the argument that the members of the Congress won’t represent a diverse group, if the vote of the immigrants were singled out.
The census takes place once every 10 years and is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, who decided to include the question. According to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, the question will help get an accurate count of citizens, which could then in turn help Voting Rights Act of 1965, in protecting the rights of the minorities that were present in the country.
However, the opposition have argued that the purpose of the move is to undermine the votes of immigrants and thus, have the opposite effect of what is intended. The Liberals were also concerned that representation in the Congress could be reduced, as well as a decrease in federal funding determined by population, for the local jurisdictions.
Arturo Vargas, who’s the executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Official (NALEO) Educational Fund, said in a statement to reporters, that the move was an attempt to scare the Latinos and other minorities from participating in the census.
This will be the first time since 1950 that a citizenship questions will be included in the census, given that the move is allowed to occur after the states have put forth legal challenges, and the Congress controlled by Republicans doesn’t intervene, which is unlikely to happen.
The multi-state lawsuit, in order to try and stop the implementation of the question, will be led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Additionally, a separate lawsuit has been filed on Tuesday, by the State of California against the Census Bureau and the Commerce Department.
The Justice Department had written a letter arguing that in order to enforce the Voting Rights Act, the citizenship question was necessary, which led to the authorization of it by the commerce secretary, who also runs the Census Bureau.
According to emails obtained by a non-profit newsroom, the letter was written by John Gore, though it was sent to the Justice Department by a staff member. Gore has previously acted as a lawyer and has defended more than one Republican redistricting plans in the past. He was also appointed as head of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, by Attorney General Jeff Sessions last year. A legal challenge brought against a law in Texas by the Obama administration for allegedly discriminating against minorities, was reversed by Gore during his time in the division.
No comment was made regarding Gore’s involvement by Devin O’Malley, a spokesman of the Justice Department, although he did add that the question was necessary in protecting the right to vote. He also added it would ensure free and fair elections for all Americans, before closing his statement by saying that the department was keen on defending the question.