The Supreme Court on Tuesday is set to hear arguments over the Trump administration's plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, a move that had sparked outcry from Democrats and legal battles throughout the U.S. court system.
Critics say adding the question would dissuade immigrants from filling out the census form, leading to a population undercount that would have ramifications across the country, says Reuters Lawrence Hurley.
(SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) REUTERS REPORTER LAWRENCE HURLEY: "Basically, if there's an undercount in the census it means that in some parts of the country you could have hundreds or thousands of people who are not getting counted.
And then that then leads into how congressional districts get apportioned across the country which means that certain urban areas may end up with less representation in Congress even though their population is higher." New York-based immigrant rights group 'Make the road' filed a joint lawsuit with other similar organizations against the Trump administration, claiming the president's plan to add a citizenship question is a "racist attempt to intimidate and undercount immigrants." (SOUNDBITE) (English) THEO OSHIRO, MAKE THE ROAD NEW YORK, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, SAYING: "We know that there is palpable fear that is created within immigrant communities when an issue around citizenship or legal status are asked by anyone, but in particular by the federal government.
And so what we've heard from immigrant community members is that they could potentially not fill out the census if there is a citizenship question on the census.
The case comes before the Supreme Court in a pair of lawsuits... After three courts, this year, blocked the citizenship question.
The Trump administration says the question will yield better data to enforce the Voting Rights Act, which protects eligible voters from discrimination.
The top court, which has a 5-to-4 conservative majority, will consider whether Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the Census Bureau, violated a federal law and the U.S. Constitution's mandate to tally the nation's population every 10 years.
A ruling is due by the end of June.