Joining the lawsuit are six cities, the bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors, and 17 other Democratic attorneys general, including Oregon's Ellen Rosenblum, who partnered with Schneiderman to block President Trump's travel ban and DACA cancellation.
Schneiderman also outlined the potential consequences if the 2020 census moves forward as planned, warning, "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 NY and our fair representation in Congress and the Electoral College".
Since at least 1980, Census officials of both political parties repeatedly warned that asking about citizenship would, as the government explained in a 1980 lawsuit, "inevitably jeopardize the overall accuracy of the population count" by discouraging immigrants from participating. "Adding an untested question on citizenship will silence many in immigrant communities and no doubt suppress the census data", said Congressman Eliot Engel.
It is no wonder California has an "open border" policy toward undocumented immigrants, as it results is a greater representation in Congress and more federal funding for programs.
A government spokesman did not immediately comment.
In addition, the lawsuit contends that the question violates the Constitution's mandate that the Census count every person in the country, not just citizens.
Eighteen AG's, six cities and the bipartisan US conference of mayors are all in.
Non-citizens are counted in the Census for the purposes of distributing federal funds, apportioning congressional seats and Electoral College votes, and drawing state and local legislative districts.
As noted in a 54-page complaint, the decennial US census has not delved into citizenship since 1950.
However, the lawsuit says that many of those people are in what are called "hard to count neighborhoods", which include those in which more than a quarter of mail-in questionnaires aren't returned.
The decision to add a citizenship question to the census, announced March 26 by Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross Jr., came too late for the question to be included in the Providence trial. "Adding this untested question at the last minute will depress participation and result in an inaccurate Census".
The lawsuit goes on to list federal funds OR received in 2015: $431 million for highways, $39 million for child care development, and $57 million in grants for urban transportation.
It asked for a ruling that the citizenship demand is unauthorized and unconstitutional. In 1974, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights criticized the Census Bureau and its methods of counting Hispanics, describing their methods and procedures as "disastrous".