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NY AG To Sue Trump Administration Over Citizenship Census Question

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman Photo Credit: Wikipedia

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is leading a multi-state coalition of elected officials who are intending to challenge President Donald Trump and the federal government’s decision to bring back a question asking about citizen status in the 2020 United States Census.

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On Monday night, the Commerce Department announced it would indeed reintroduce the question, which had been asked until 1960. The lawsuit was filed by Attorneys General in New York, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington can be read here.

Stating that the “Trump administration proposes to unlawfully expand purposefully narrow existing protections, without consideration of the consequences,” Schneiderman is being joined by 18 other Attorney Generals around the country in filing comments opposing the Trump Department of Health and Human Services’ Proposed Rule, which “seeks to dramatically expand the ability of businesses and individuals to refuse to provide necessary health care on the basis of businesses' or employees’ “‘religious, moral, ethical, or other beliefs."

Critics of the measure also argue immigrants may simply decline to take the census if the citizenship question is asked.

According to Schneiderman, if approved, the rule would allow businesses, including employers, to object to providing insurance coverage for procedures they consider objectionable. The rule would also allow individual health care personnel to object to informing patients about their medical options or referring them to providers of those options. Schneiderman said that the rule would “impose particularly enormous burdens on marginalized patients, including LGBT patients, who already confront discrimination in obtaining health care.”

Schneiderman said that placing the objections of businesses and healthcare workers above patient safety and care violates existing federal and state laws and undermines state public health efforts to ensure access to care. 

“At a time when many New Yorkers and Americans are struggling to access decent health care, the Trump administration is trying to put ideology before patient safety and care – under the guise of religious freedom,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “The law is clear, providing a time-tested, established framework that balances respect for religious freedom with the rights and needs of patients, employers, and states.”

"The Trump administration's decision to ask about citizenship on the U.S. Census is a gross political act that launches another missile at the heart of New York,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement following the announcement. “Make no mistake: this decision is anti-immigrant and is intended only to serve the political agenda of those in power in Washington.”

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