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Government watchdog backs citizenship on census

A prominent government watchdog at the forefront of exposing Hillary Clinton’s email scandal and the Obama administration’s weaponization of the Justice Department is urging courts to uphold the Commerce Department’s citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

The Trump administration restored the question, but activists for illegal immigrants have challenged it in court.

Judicial Watch has joined with the Allied Educational Foundation in a friend-of-the-court brief in the Supreme Court asking for reinstatement of the question.

The District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled against the restoring the question.

“Adding a citizenship question to the decennial census would generate a massive amount of new data concerning the numbers of citizens and noncitizens in U.S. states and counties,” Judicial Watch said. “To quibble about potential limitations in the data that would be collected is to miss the point. It cannot be the case that we are somehow better off with less information.”

The information would be used to enforce the National Voter Registration Act as well as other laws.

The filing notes that citizenship information now comes from the limited American Community Survey. The brief contends the lower court overstepped its authority because the decisions about census questions are committed to agency discretion.

The Department of Commerce case is on emergency appeal to the Supreme Court.

The lower court ruled the decision to add the question didn’t “comply with the policy decisions that Congress – to which the Constitution gives authority over the census – has made and enshrined in statute, including but not limited to the preference for obtaining data through administrative records rather than through direct inquiries.”

But Judicial Watch points out the Department of Justice stated that citizenship data was “critical” to its efforts to enforce Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and that the census was “the most appropriate vehicle” for asking a question about citizenship.

“The secretary of Commerce agreed. In so acting, the secretary rejected the argument that including a citizenship question would reduce the response rate for noncitizens. The secretary found that the available data did not support this suggestion and added that the value of ‘more complete and accurate’ citizenship data outweighed the disadvantages that might arise from a lower response rate.”

An advocate of voting integrity, the watchdog recently signed a settlement with California and Los Angeles under which as many as 1.5 million inactive registered names are being removed from voter registration rolls.

The agreement followed similar resolutions in Ohio and Kentucky.

“Leftists hate the idea of the American people knowing more about the number of foreign nationals present in the United States, which is why they oppose a census question about citizenship,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

“The Supreme Court should reject the lower court judicial power grab that would unlawfully restrict the Trump administration from getting more information about the residents of the United States.”