San Jose officials file lawsuit against Trump administration challenging citizenship question on census

Bay City News
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
A census worker is seen in this undated image.
A census worker is seen in this undated image.

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The city of San Jose added a new lawsuit Tuesday to the list of challenges to a plan by the administration of President Trump to add a citizenship question to the 2020 national census.

The city filed the lawsuit in federal court in San Jose against the U.S. Department of Commerce and Census Bureau.

Like several previous lawsuits, it claims the citizenship question is unconstitutional because the U.S. Constitution requires an "actual enumeration" of the full population.

RELATED: California files lawsuit over citizenship question on 2020 census

The lawsuits contend the question will deter non-citizens from answering and thus will result in an undercounting of the population.

The once-per-decade census information is used to determine the size of congressional districts and allocation of federal funding.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said in a statement, "In San Jose, everyone counts.

RELATED: Why you should care about the U.S. Census

"Adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census will stoke fears and depress participation in diverse cities like San Jose, threatening hundreds of millions in funding for health, education, and other critical services upon which our entire community depends," Liccardo said.

San Jose was joined in the case by the Black Alliance for Just Immigration.

The lawsuit says San Jose is especially vulnerable to harm because it has historically been a home to immigrants and nearly 40 percent of its population was born in another country.

ALLIES IN ACTION: Get help with your rights to justice, equality and civil liberties

The first lawsuit challenging the census question was filed in federal court in San Francisco in late March by California Attorney Xavier Becerra on behalf of the people of California.

A few days later, the city of San Francisco joined six other cities and 17 states in another suit filed in U.S. District Court in New York City.

Another lawsuit has been filed in federal court in Maryland by seven residents of Maryland and Arizona.

Like other lawsuits, San Jose's case also claims the plan violates the federal Administrative Procedure Act, which prohibits "arbitrary and

capricious" actions by administrative agencies.

A U.S. Department of Justice spokesman has said the department looks forward to defending the use of the question.

Click here for the announcement from the U.S. Department of Commerce on reinstatement of citizenship question in 2020 Census.

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