California v. Ross and San Jose and Black Alliance for Just Immigration v. Ross, Northern District of CA (2018)

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At issue in these cases is the Commerce Department’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. The cases are California v. Ross, brought by the state of California and several California cities and counties in City of San Jose and Black Alliance for Just Immigration v. Ross. ADL joined the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights and over 130 other grassroots, advocacy, labor, legal services, and civil rights organizations in submitting amicus briefs opposing motions to dismiss these lawsuits, challenging the inclusion of the unnecessary and intrusive citizenship question. The brief argues that the misguided decision to reverse seventy years of consistent census practice and insert an untested citizenship question undermines the integrity of the count, damages communities who already are feeling vulnerable and targeted by the Administration’s anti-immigrant policies, and violates the Census Bureau’s constitutional and statutory duties to conduct a full enumeration of the U.S. population. The citizenship question will lead, and has already led, to depressed participation in the census, particularly among families that include immigrants, young children, and people of color. The brief also notes that collecting citizenship data would undermine enforcement of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) because it would undercount minority populations who rely on that data to bring VRA claims.