Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Mar 27 2018

Census has not asked about citizenship status since 1950

OLYMPIA — Attorney General Bob Ferguson today announced he will join a multistate coalition to sue the Trump Administration over its decision to include a question about citizenship status in the 2020 U.S. Census.

Ferguson released the following statement:

“The Census Bureau’s own research reveals asking people about their citizenship status could significantly undermine its Constitutional mandate: an accurate count of everyone in the United States, regardless of immigration status. If Washington state’s large immigrant population isn’t accurately counted, the impact on our Congressional representation and billions of dollars in federal funds our state receives could be jeopardized,” Ferguson said.

“I won’t allow the Trump Administration to play politics with the Census at the expense of all Washingtonians.”

“Between underfunding the 2020 Census and making changes that will suppress participation by already under-represented populations, it’s clear this administration is trying to sabotage a critical tool for making informed policy decisions and ensuring fair representation,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said.

Ferguson has been looking at this issue for weeks. In February, he joined 18 other Attorneys General and the governor of Colorado in a letter to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross arguing that a question regarding citizenship “would significantly depress participation, causing a population undercount that would disproportionately harm states and cities with large immigrant communities.”

Ferguson will join a multistate lawsuit announced this morning by New York. The lawsuit will challenge the Administration’s decision to add the question to the Census on constitutional and statutory grounds.

Ferguson has not lost a case brought against the Trump Administration. The Attorney General’s Office prevailed in all five cases against the Trump Administration that are completed and there are no more appeals. That does not include four additional successful outcomes that have been or could be appealed, including blocking President Trump’s ban on transgender individuals serving in the military and his attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.


The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.


Brionna Aho, Communications Director, (360) 753-2727; brionna.aho@atg.wa.gov