Judge orders Trump administration to remove citizenship question from 2020 census

New question barred for now from 2020 U.S. census

NEW YORK (AP/Gray News) — A federal judge in New York has barred the Trump administration from adding a question about citizenship to the 2020 census.

U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman said Tuesday that while such a question would be constitutional, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had added it arbitrarily and not followed proper procedure. The administration is likely to appeal the decision.

The ruling came in a case in which states, cities and immigrants' rights groups argued that adding the question might frighten immigrant households away from participating in the census.

The question read as “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” The answers were as follows:

  • 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

A census survey has not contained an citizenship question since 1950.

Ross oversees the Census Bureau and approached the Justice Department in March 2018 about adding the question.

The decision won’t be the final word on the matter.

A separate suit on the same issue, filed by the state of California, is underway in San Francisco.

The U.S. Supreme Court is also poised to address the issue in February.

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