Oklahoma attorney general files brief in support of citizen question for 2020 Census

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter has filed a brief, encouraging a district court to dismiss a lawsuit that would prevent the Census Bureau from including a question about citizenship on the 2020 Census.

“For the census to not collect data about citizenship makes no sense,” Attorney General Hunter said. “Those opposing the question stand to disadvantage minority communities and make fair legislative redistricting more difficult. Further, the fear that data could be used for other purposes than analyzing the population are groundless. All responses are protected by the law and cannot be used for other purposes. Improper use of the census information is punishable by fines and prison time. Those spreading fear about the citizenship question should instead be informing people about the facts: no adverse legal action can result from truthfully answering the census.”

The brief argues that the citizenship question has been asked in one form or another during almost every census since 1820.

“In total, the federal government has asked a resident whether he is a citizen of this country more than a billion times since 1820. Given this nearly unbroken history of asking about citizenship … Plaintiffs’ assertion that it violates the U.S. Constitution to include a citizenship question in the 2020 census is remarkable,” it states.

In addition to Hunter, the brief was signed by attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

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