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US Census citizenship question: Commerce ordered to release more documents

06:15  03 january  2020
06:15  03 january  2020 Source:   cnn.com

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Trump issues executive order to collect citizenship data. Debate one-liners: Politics, wine caves His continued battle to include the citizenship question on the census -- risking another Supreme He said agencies would be required to provide the Commerce Department with documents and records

More important, census totals are used to divvy up congressional seats among the 50 states, and as the base for drawing thousands of state and local Critics of the citizenship question say it would lead to an undercount of immigrants, most of whom live in cities that predominantly lean Democratic.

a close up of text on a black background: The Census Bureau will make its online questionnaires and phone interviews available in 13 languages during the 2020 Census.© Shutterstock The Census Bureau will make its online questionnaires and phone interviews available in 13 languages during the 2020 Census.

A federal judge has directed the Commerce Department to review and make public a large cache of previously unreleased documents related to the 2020 census and the Trump administration's effort to include a citizenship question in the survey.

The documents, including emails and attachments sent to and from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and others, amount to around 20,000 pages, the Justice Department told the New York trial court in December. That equates to about 40% of the pages the government had previously produced in the litigation.

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Opponents of a Census question about citizenship status say it could further discourage Citizen questions have appeared on the census in the past and are included on more frequent However, Ross said the commerce department was unable to determine how the citizen question would affect

WASHINGTON – A cache of documents released by the Commerce Department overnight provides further evidence that Secretary Wilbur Ross was pushing to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census far more actively, and much earlier, than his later sworn testimony indicated.

The Justice Department had argued the documents should not be released in their entirety because the case has already been decided. After a Supreme Court ruling in the case last year, President Donald Trump and Ross announced they would no longer seek to add the controversial question about citizenship status, which critics believe would depress the response rate to the survey.

Judge Jesse Furman, who heard the original trial in his New York courtroom in 2018, wrote Thursday that his directive was "more aggressive" than the government wanted and that he realizes it "will impose burdens on the Department of Justice."

"But Defendants have no one but themselves to blame since the documents at issue should have been produced a year and a half ago," he wrote.

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( ) Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was ordered by a federal judge to testify in a lawsuit against his department regarding a question about citizenship added to the 2020 Census . In March, the Commerce Department announced the question would be included in the census , which the Trump

The census is mandated by the Constitution as a means to determine representation in Congress. When the decision was announced to include the question , several The government is arguing that in order to get a more accurate count of the citizen population, the citizenship question on the form

Furman is considering a request from the plaintiffs, which include New York state and an immigration group, for financial sanctions and attorneys' fees. The plaintiffs believe the documents could shed further light on the origins of the proposed citizenship question, which Furman and other trial judges found to be unclear. Documentation found since the trials has indicated that a Republican redistricting consultant concluded that including a citizenship question on the survey would be "advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites."

The government has previously explained to the court that the missing documents were inadvertently omitted from the large cache it produced prior to the original trial because of "a technical error."

a man holding a sign: In this April 23, 2019, file photo, demonstrators rally at the US Supreme Court in Washington to protest a proposal to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.© MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images In this April 23, 2019, file photo, demonstrators rally at the US Supreme Court in Washington to protest a proposal to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

The directive means the government must review, redact and produce a set of emails including those involving Ross by January 10. The attachments are due two weeks later. Those emails and attachments amount to about 9,300 pages, Justice Department attorneys previously told the court. The remainder of the documents are due about a month later.

The Justice Department had asked to have until January 31 to begin its production. The two parties told the court last week that they had discussed how to handle the documents on Christmas Eve and December 26 but were unable to agree how to proceed.

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