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North Carolina sues Trump administration over census question

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Laura Garduno-Garcia has lived here for decades, but like some in our country, she's undocumented and a DACA recipient.

"Greensboro is home, Greensboro is where I graduated from college, where I'm raising a family," Garduno-Garcia said.

A recent announcement to add a question of citizenship to the 2020 census is something she's not surprised by, but says makes some people nervous.

"It's just another punch to our communities immigrant and minority communities that are already struggling with limited or scarce resources," Garduno-Garcia said.

The Trump Administration says the decision came at the department level from the Census Bureau and says it supports the decision, "specifically to help us comply with the Voting Rights Act," Sarah Sanders said in a news conference in late May.

She also claimed the question had been on censuses in years past, which is contended. It has been on similar surveys, and a longer version of the census form in 2000, but not on the shorter, more commonly distributed version of the 2000 census.

The issue here is non-citizens may not want to participate if the question is included.

"I have always heard of families who have refused to participate in the census, because they're not sure how that information is going to be used," Garduno-Garcia said.

It is illegal for the Census Bureau to share information that reveals someone's identity. They can't even share it with the FBI.

But non-citizens not filling out the form could become an issue because it leads to under counting, which means less resources for things like education, health care and infrastructure for that state.

"Take more resources away from communities that are already in desperate need of these resources," Garduno-Garcia said.

Attorney General Josh Stein is now joining more than a dozen other states in suing the federal government over the question.

"North Carolinians pay taxes to the federal government every year. In return, they rightfully expect to receive our state's fair share of federal funding," Stein said in a statement. "That's what an accurate Census provides for and why I will fight any effort to politicize it."

State Sen. Phil Berger questioned the lawsuit on Facebook saying, "It seems like common sense that the U.S. Census Bureau has every right to know if you are an American citizen, a legal immigrant, or an illegal alien when taking a count of residents in each state. Do you think it’s an appropriate use of his office -- and your tax dollars -- for our state Attorney General Josh Stein to sue our own government for asking this basic question?"