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States, cities sue U.S. to block 2020 census citizenship question

From Reuters - April 3, 2018

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A group of U.S. states and cities sued the Trump administration to stop it from asking people filling out 2020 census forms whether they are citizens.

The lawsuit by 17 states, Washington D.C. and six cities challenged what they called last weeks unconstitutional and arbitrary decision by the U.S. Department of Commerce, which oversees the Census Bureau, to add the citizenship question.

It was also a fresh challenge to what New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, at a press conference announcing the lawsuit, called the administrations anti-immigrant animus.

All of the states bringing the case have Democratic attorneys general.

They were joined by New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Providence, Rhode Island, which all have Democratic mayors, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Another state, California, filed a similar lawsuit last week.

The White House and the Commerce Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Required under the U.S. Constitution, the decennial census is used to determine the drawing of political boundaries, the allocation of seats in Congress and at the state and local level, and the annual distribution of about $700 billion of federal funds.

Critics of the citizenship question say it might dissuade immigrants, and perhaps many citizens, from being counted, with a disproportionate impact on Democratic-leaning states.

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