Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh is joining a growing legal effort that is attempting to block the Trump Administration from adding a citizenship question to the U.S. Census.
On Tuesday Frosh announced he would sign on to a lawsuit being put forth by attorneys general in 17 states that’s seeking to block the question from being added to the 2020 census.
The move comes as the Montgomery County Council introduced a resolution Tuesday backing the lawsuit. The complaint filed in federal court in New York asserts the question could result in the undercounting of the country’s population, leading to allocations of federal funds that don’t fairly compensate areas with large immigrant populations. The prosecutors allege that fear about answering the question may keep legal citizens who are immigrants as well as undocumented immigrants from participating in the census.
“The Trump Administration’s decision to demand citizenship information is an attempt to intimidate voters and to suppress the vote,” Frosh said in a statement. “It will undermine the accuracy of the census, result in the loss of federal funds for Maryland and deprive our state of fair representation in Congress.”
Frosh added that he believes the question is unconstitutional.
The census has not asked a citizenship question since 1950, the complaint notes.
County Council member Nancy Navarro, who sponsored the council resolution, said Tuesday the county worked hard during the 2010 census to ensure all residents participated in the population count. She described the citizenship question as “disturbing” and said it could impact the county’s federal budget allocation.
“This has a lot of negative consequences especially in a county like Montgomery County where about 33 percent of its population is foreign born,” Navarro said. “It really does work against our goal of ensuring maximum participation in the census.”
The all-Democrat council unanimously co-sponsored the resolution.
Some Republicans in the state, including Gov. Larry Hogan, have questioned Frosh’s lawsuits against the Trump administration. The attorney general is also engaged in a lawsuit alleging Trump violated the foreign emoluments clause that prevents the president from receiving foreign gifts not approved by Congress. Last week, a federal judge ruled the case brought by Maryland and the District of Columbia could proceed.
State Del. Kathy Szeliga, the Republican minority whip, told The Baltimore Sun she is concerned Frosh is “wasting taxpayer money on petty partisan politics” with the lawsuits.
Frosh responded by saying the lawsuits were brought over potential constitutional violations, according to the paper.
The other states that have signed onto the lawsuit concerning the census question are New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia.