Phoenix votes to sue federal government over 2020 census

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton delivers his State of the City address earlier this year. This week, the mayor and Phoenix City Council voted to sue the federal government over the 2020 census. (Photo/City of Phoenix)

Phoenix officials have voted to pursue litigation against the federal government in response to a plan to include a question about U.S. citizenship on the 2020 census.

“The purpose of the census is to get an accurate count of all persons – not to play politics or get involved in issues of immigration,” Mayor Greg Stanton stated in a release. “A question about citizenship will inevitably result in an undercount – and Phoenix and its residents have too much to lose in the 2020 census count if it’s not done right.”

Council members Daniel Valenzuela and Kate Gallego sent a letter to the mayor requesting the council vote on the item during Tuesday’s policy meeting.

Daniel Valenzuela

“The stakes are incredibly high,” Mr. Valenzuela stated. “In March, I warned about the impact such an order will have. Census figures are used to redraw political boundaries from school boards to congressional seats as well as determine how much money cities and states receive from the federal government.

“I appreciate Mayor Stanton’s decision to place this matter before the full City Council. I thank my colleagues on the council for voting to pursue litigation against the federal government to protect the best interests of our citizens.”

Ms. Gallego said she is concerned that the citizenship question “stands to jeopardize federal funding allocated to Phoenix to help provide critical public services, including police and fire protection, transportation, and many other services.

“In addition, the census stands to marginalize residents who are part of our community. At this time, it is in the best interest of the city of Phoenix to take legal action against the Trump administration.”

More than a dozen cities and states across the nation, along with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, have joined lawsuits against the federal government, according to Phoenix officials.

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