ALBUQUERQUE ― Wednesday, Attorney General Hector Balderas welcomed the American Civil Liberties Union’s new lawsuit challenging changes to the census announced by the U.S. Department of Commerce in March.
Attorney General Balderas, 16 other attorneys general, six cities, one county and the U.S. Conference of Mayors have filed suit on the same basis. In March, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross ordered that the 2020 Census include a question about the citizenship of all U.S. residents for the first time since 1950. The ACLU’s lawsuit includes a challenge by that organization, by the Immigration Coalition, CASA de Maryland, the American-Arab Antidiscrimination Committee, the ADC Research Institute and Make the Road New York. Both lawsuits were filed in the Southern District of New York.
“We welcome the addition of other interested parties in this critical debate. Requiring disclosure of citizenship status for our immigrant communities unfairly punishes New Mexico for being a minority-majority state on the border,” Balderas said. “New Mexico received more than $6 billion in federal funding based on the census in 2015, and requiring citizenship information could cost New Mexico hundreds of millions of dollars due to underreporting.”
Secretary Ross recently testified that adding a citizenship question would lead to a decline in participation in the census because there are “folks who may not feel comfortable answering” the citizenship question.
Those “folks” are members of our immigrant communities that are once again being unfairly persecuted by the federal government. Attorney General Balderas will continue to oppose those efforts to demean vital members of the multi-cultural fabric of our state, and fight for the federal dollars that New Mexicans deserve.