New York Immigration Coal. v. United States Dep't of Commerce
The New York Immigration Coalition is leading a coalition of groups in a challenge to the Commerce Department’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. The plaintiffs argue that the Department’s decision violates the U.S. Constitution and the Administrative Procedures Act.
This case is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
A coalition of groups representing immigrant and minority communities is suing the Commerce Department, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and the Census Bureau over the Commerce Department’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. The suit asserts that a citizenship question would undermine the accuracy of the census and exacerbate the undercount of minority communities.
The plaintiffs allege that the Commerce Department acted with discriminatory intent towards Asian-Americans, Arab-Americans, Latinos, and immigrant communities of color in adding a citizenship question to the decennial census form. A citizenship question, the plaintiffs claim, will drive down participation by members of these communities, thereby reducing their political power and the amount of federal funding they receive. On these grounds, the plaintiffs argue, the addition of a citizenship question violates the equal protection clause of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The suit further contends that because the citizenship question will produce a systematic undercount of Latinos, Asian-Americans, Arab-Americans, and other immigrant communities of color, the question will undermine the federal government’s constitutional obligation under the Census Clause to conduct an “actual enumeration” of the national population. The suit further argues that Commerce Department’s decision to add the question violated the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) because, among other things, it violated federal law and Census Bureau policies.
The plaintiffs are asking the court to declare that the addition of the question violates the Constitution and the APA. The plaintiffs are also asking the court both to preliminarily and permanently enjoin the Commerce Department from adding the question to the census.
The court consolidated the case with New York v. United States Dep’t of Commerce for scheduling and pre-trial discovery.