On Thursday, a U.S. federal judge approved a lawsuit which would prevent a question regarding citizenship from being added to the 2020 national census.
The lawsuit’s supporters argued that the question is an attempt by the Trump administration to encourage discrimination against immigrants.
Manhattan District Judge Jesse M. Furman will now redirect the lawsuit to a trial this fall where the ethics and reasoning behind the citizenship question will be discussed.
Plaintiffs have stated that asking census participants to verify their citizenship could cause a decrease in Democratic representation when state and congressional districts are redrawn.
The judge also stated that Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross Jr., who proposed the question’s addition to the 2020 census, did not have the authority to do so. He also pointed out Ross’ vague explanations regarding the question’s addition. Ross initially stated that he was adding the question due to a request from the Justice Department, but then admitted that he had previously discussed the subject with U.S. officials. It was also later confirmed through DOJ disclosed documents that Ross and the White House had been discussing the subject since early 2017.
While the judge emphasized that this does not prove intentions of discrimination towards immigrants, he did state that the juxtaposition of the request with the administration’s recent actions seems suspicious. Everything from Trump’s statement of “shithole countries” to saying that MS-13 members are “animals” has supported the idea that the White House would want to alienate immigrants via the census.
Days after Ross announced the proposition, Trump’s 2020 campaign released an email to supporters that read:
President Trump has officially mandated that the 2020 United States census ask people living in America whether or not they are citizens.”
Featured Image via Flickr/U.S. Embassy Bangkok, Thailand