Herrera: ‘The Trump administration is playing politics with people’s lives.’
SAN FRANCISCO (July 26, 2018) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera released the following statement after a federal court issued a ruling today in the case brought by San Francisco, New York and other state and local governments against the Trump administration for its efforts to undermine the accuracy of the census. The federal government had sought to have the case dismissed, but the court ruled today that it could proceed:
“Today’s decision is a victory for all Americans. It allows this important lawsuit to move forward and ensures that the people have their day in court. This ruling is a sharp rebuke of the Trump administration’s cynical attempt to undermine the U.S. census and dramatically undercount the population. An undercount would deprive needy families of federal help to get food, health care and housing. The Trump administration is playing politics with people’s lives. Children are not chips to be used in a political poker game. That is why San Francisco stood up with New York and cities and states from North Carolina to New Mexico. We are going to protect our children, our seniors and our hard-working families.”
A coalition led by the State of New York that included 17 states, six cities, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Conference of Mayors took the Trump administration to court on April 3, 2018 to prevent the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 U.S. census that would undermine the census’ accuracy. Later, four other cities, four counties and another state joined the coalition. A number of nonprofits also sued the Trump administration over the same issue.
The last time a citizenship question appeared on the U.S. census was 1950. Since at least 1980, the Census Bureau, under both Democratic and Republican administrations, has taken the position that inquiries about citizenship on the census would jeopardize the overall accuracy of the population count, including undercounting legal immigrants in the United States.
The census is used to allocate seats in the House of Representatives, determine the number of electors to the Electoral College, draw state and local electoral districts, and distribute hundreds of billions of dollars in federal grant funds to states, local governments and other grantees. Federal researchers found that in fiscal year 2015 more than 130 programs used Census Bureau data to distribute more than $675 billion in funds for things like Medicaid, transportation projects, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the National School Lunch Program.
The lawsuit is being brought by the cities of San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Providence, Philadelphia, Seattle, Phoenix, Central Falls, Columbus and Pittsburgh; counties of Cameron, El Paso, Hidalgo and Monterey; the states of New York, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington; the District of Columbia; and the bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors.
The case is: State of New York et al. v. U.S. Department of Commerce et al., U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York case No. 1:18-cv-02921, filed April 3, 2018. Additional documentation from the case is available on the City Attorney’s website at: sfcityattorney.org.