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Judge Orders Trump Administration to Remove Citizenship Question From 2020 Census

“Today’s ruling is a win for New Yorkers and Americans across the country who believe in a fair and accurate count of the residents of our nation,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James.

By Sheryl Estrada

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the Trump Administration to stop its plans to include a question about citizenship in the 2020 Census.

Judge Jesse Furman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross’ choice “violated the public trust.”

“Secretary Ross’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census — even if it did not violate the Constitution itself — was unlawful for a multitude of independent reasons and must be set aside,” Furman wrote in his 277-page decision.


The last time a census survey contained a citizenship question was in 1950.

“That form asked where each person was born and in a follow-up question asked, ‘If foreign-born — Is he naturalized?’” according to NPR. “In 1960, there was no such question about citizenship, only about place of birth.”

The proposed question for the 2020 Census: “Is this person a citizen of the United States?”

The answers:

  • Yes, born in the United States
  • Yes, born in Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands or Northern Marianas
  • Yes, born abroad of U.S. citizen parent or parents
  • Yes, U.S. citizen by naturalization – Print year of naturalization
  • No, not a U.S. citizen

In April, the New York State Attorney General’s Office filed a lawsuit to block the Trump Administration from demanding citizenship information in the 2020 Census. New York is leading a coalition of 34 states, cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors in this case.

Letitia James, who was sworn into office earlier this month, is the first African-American, as well as the first woman, to be elected to the position.


“Today’s ruling is a win for New Yorkers and Americans across the country who believe in a fair and accurate count of the residents of our nation,” James said in a statement.

“Attempts by the Trump Administration to mandate a question about citizenship were not rooted in a desire to strengthen the census process and would only undermine our immigrant communities. Inciting fear in our residents is not only immoral, but also ill-conceived.”

In December, James said she has plans to launch a thorough investigation into President Trump and his business dealings.

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice (DOJ) was “disappointed” and “are still reviewing the ruling.”

“Secretary Ross, the only person with legal authority over the census, reasonably decided to reinstate a citizenship question on the 2020 Census in response to the Department of Justice’s request for better citizenship data to protect voters against racial discrimination,” the department said in a statement.



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