SF joins challenge to Census ‘citizenship’ question

The city of San Francisco is among seven cities and 17 states that sued the administration of President Donald Trump Tuesday to challenge its plan to include a citizenship question in the 2020 census.

The lawsuit, led by the state of New York, was filed in federal court in New York City.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a similar lawsuit on behalf of the state of California in federal court in San Francisco on March 27.

Both lawsuits claim the census question is unconstitutional because the U.S. Constitution requires an accurate count every 10 years of the actual population.

The lawsuits say the question will deter non-citizen immigrants from participating in the census and will thus reduce the accuracy of the census. Census information is used to determine federal grants to cities and states and to allocate seats in the House of Representatives.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said the question would result in an undercount in cities with large immigrant populations. The immigrant population is 13 percent nationwide and 35 percent in San Francisco, he said.

Herrera said in a statement:

“Low-income families across the country rely on an accurate census for federal funding. These numbers determine how much funding San Francisco receives to help people get food, health care and housing. The Trump administration is playing politics with people’s lives.”

U.S. Department of Justice spokesperson Kerri Kupec said the citizenship question “will allow the department to protect the right to vote and ensure free and fair elections for all Americans.”

The Department of Justice “looks forward to defending” the use of the question, Kupec said.