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Asking about citizenship on the census is dangerous and illegal

Last week, the Trump administration announced it would be adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census Form.

Next week, I and many of my state AG colleagues around the country, will sue Mr. Trump for asking this illegal question!

Asking about citizenship seems innocent enough. But it's not. The practice was abandoned after the 1950 census because it's unconstitutional and irrelevant to counting how many residents live in the U.S.

Trump and the Justice Department's motivation is not about information gathering; it's about underrepresenting and underfunding communities with large immigrant populations. Communities like those across Oregon, California, and New York.

The US Census Bureau itself acknowledges that a citizenship question would scare away millions of immigrants from completing the mandatory survey. And why wouldn't they be intimidated given the climate of hate and discrimination that Trump has fostered?

The Constitution requires that every resident be counted, whether or not they are citizens. Otherwise our census numbers are off – way off. And when the numbers are off, we've got a mess on our hands. Here are just a few of the reasons why:

  • Congressional representation is determined by the census count.
  • Federal funding for infrastructure, veterans' assistance, Medicaid, and school lunches are allocated based on the census count.
  • Research information is based on the census count.

Five heads of the US Census Bureau (Republicans and Democrats) and civil rights groups have advised against asking about citizenship. But Trump and his Justice Department do not care. Anything to promote their agenda, tilt the scale in favor of Republicans, and discriminate against our neighbors, co-workers, friends, and families.

Stay tuned.


Posted on March 29, 2018.
Oregon is a special place. As Attorney General, I am working hard to keep it that way for future generations of Oregonians.Oregon is a special place. As Attorney General, I am working hard to keep it that way for future generations of Oregonians.

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