BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s hard to believe the normally staid U.S. census would spark controversy, but for attorneys general from California to New York, it is.
“We’re here to convey a very simple message: if you’re not counted, then you don’t count,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
And New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman added, “The Trump administration is out to destroy this bipartisan tradition.”
Their words center on a single 2020 census question: what’s your citizenship? It’s been in every census since 1965, but was eliminated in 2010.
The Trump administration is bringing it back. Maryland is the 18th state to try to block that from happening by filing a lawsuit.
“I think the point is to draw attention to the really harmful effects that the Trump administration has engaged in, in order to under count the people of our state,” Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said.
The constitution demands every person be counted, regardless of citizenship. The worry is that Trump immigration crackdowns will keep people from being counted.
The numbers determine how many congressmen a state gets, how many electoral college votes, and how much of the $700 billion in federal funds each state gets.
“The citizenship question will drive down the accuracy, drive down the numbers in Maryland,” Frosh said. “That could literally cost us billions of dollars.”