If non-citizens in MA don't answer the census honestly, or at all, said Galvin, that will affect the population numbers for the state - which would then affect representation in Congress as well as access to federal funds for transportation or education, among other things, that are linked to population size. Last month a coalition of 19 state attorneys general signed onto a letter to the Department of Commerce urging the question be rejected. Becerra also argued the move violated the Administrative Procedure Act's prohibition against "arbitrary and capricious" agency action.
In an eight-page memo, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that the decision to add the question came at the request of the Department of Justice, which has said that it needs the information to better enforce the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
"It is imperative that the data gathered in the census is reliable, given the wide ranging impacts it will have on USA policy", Mr Cruz said in a press release issued by the three.
Attorney General Maura Healey's office said Tuesday that the Democrat will join a multi-state lawsuit led by New York's attorney general.
The decision brought criticism from those who say the citizenship question will cause people to not participate in the census because of concerns about how the government could use the information, resulting in an undercount of the population.
"A question on citizenship is a reasonable, commonsense addition to the census", he added.
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Democrats are blasting the administration for its intention to ask whether people taking part in the census are US citizens. Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., said she would introduce legislation to stop the question from being included in the census. The questions in the census are generally benign, he said, but "asking about citizenship status, especially given the rhetoric about immigrants coming out of Washington, is something that in my view will spook people".
While the White House characterized the move as a way to help protect minority voting rights, demographics experts, civil rights leaders and Democratic lawmakers argue that it will lead many undocumented immigrants to opt out of answering Census questions entirely, leading to a dramatic undercounting in areas where they live.
Ross said he had determined that including the question would provide the most "complete and accurate" citizen voting age population (CVAP) data.
It would mean that congressional districts would not be accurately drawn, federal education funding would be skewed, health statistics often used for medical research would be out of whack and various federal programs that dole out benefits based on population from roads and law enforcement to farm aid would be made unfair. It helps determine the number of seats each state has in the House and how federal money is distributed to local communities.
In an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle published before the commerce department's decision, Mr Becerra said adding the citizenship question would be "an extraordinary attempt by the Trump administration to hijack the 2020 census for political purposes". Holder calls the inclusion of the citizenship question "a direct attack on our representative democracy".