New York Sues Trump Administration Over Citizenship Question

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman formally announced on Tuesday that the state would be suing the Trump administration for adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

The suit is part of a multistate legal challenge that includes attorneys general from 18 states, six cities and the bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors, whom all argue that the question violates the U.S. Constitution and unfairly targets blue states with large immigrant populations.

"One of the federal government's most solemn obligations is a fair and accurate count of all people in the country, citizen and noncitizen alike," Schneiderman said in a Tuesday release. "With immigrant communities already living in fear, demanding citizenship status would drive them into the shadows, leading to a major undercount that threatens billions in federal funding for New York and our fair representation in Congress and the Electoral College."

At a Tuesday press conference, New York State lawmakers came ready to go to bat once again with President Donald Trump and his agenda.

"Time and time again he undermines our Constitution and undermines our democracy," Representative Nydia Velazquez said. "Why is it he can't bring himself to denounce Russia and denounce Putin, but yet he wants to instill fear and intimidate immigrants?"

The census question, she said, was another attempt from Trump to "make America white" again.

New York representatives plan to hit the Trump administration from all sides: Last month, Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, a Democrat, introduced the 2020 Census Improving Data and Enhanced Accuracy (IDEA) Act, legislation that would "protect the integrity of the census" in the face of the administration's attempts to amend it.

"The 2020 Census Improving Data and Enhanced Accuracy (IDEA) Act has unfortunately become a necessary safeguard against this administration's clear desire to politicize and compromise the 2020 Census," Maloney said at the time. "We cannot accept an incomplete or unfair count in 2020 — too much is at stake."

After taking the Trump administration to court on the travel ban, transgender troops and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Schneiderman says he feels confident that he and his allied attorneys general have a winning case.

"Our constitutional claim is so straightforward," Schneiderman told reporters on Tuesday. "We don't have to prove animus to succeed in our constitutional claim."

But if they did, Schneiderman added, that wouldn't prove too difficult either: "[Trump's] Twitter account is the gift that keeps on giving as far as our lawyers are concerned," he joked. "He clearly has an animus behind this."