Md AG Says Federal Funds, Representation Be Lost With Citizenship Question In 2020 Census Form

He’s joining other AG’s in suing the Trump Administration over this issue.


Annapolis, Md (KM). Maryland could lose a lot of federal money and possibly a seat in Congress if residents are required to answer a question about their citizenship on US Census forms. That’s according to Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh. “The Bureau of Census’ own studies show that when you ask questions about citizenship, people decline to respond,”: he says. “Maryland would suffer an under count and that would be pretty serious and cost us a lot of money.”

Frosh has joined 17 state attorneys general in filing a lawsuit against the US Department of Commerce and the Census Bureau challenging the decision to put a question about citizenship on the census questionnaire in 2020. “We’re joining it because the proposal to add the citizenship question is illegal and unconstitutional, and the impact that it would have on our state would be extremely disadvantageous,” he says.

“There’s an enumeration clause in the Constitution that the Census shall be an actual enumeration of the people who are living in each state,”: says Frosh, responding to a question about why he believes this requirement is unconstitutional. “To do it as accurately as possible is one of the constitutional principles at stake.”

“It’s illegal also because the Administrative Procedures Act requires changes to the Census questionnaire be done after study and after public hearings and based on something other than mere guesses and somebody’s idea of what would be a good new policy,” Frosh continues.

He also says people can become uncomfortable when asked about their citizenship. “People are asked ‘are you an American citizen,’ it instills fear,” says Frosh. “There are folks who are citizens, green card holders, visa holders who when presented with that question will duck and just not respond.”

And if enough of these individuals decline to answer the census in 2020, that could affect Maryland adversely. “We run the risk of losing representation in Congress,” he says. “We would lose billions of dollars in federal aid because education money, transportation money, health money is all tied to the census, what the population is.” And “that will hurt the states that have a significant population of immigrants. Maryland is one of them,” says Frosh.

The lawsuit is led by New York. Other states participating, along with Maryland, are Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia. The cities of New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Providence, Rhode Island, San Francisco and Seattle, along with .The US Conference of Mayors haveĀ  also joined the suit.


By Kevin McManus