The Trump administration’s Commerce Department recently announced they would be adding a question concerning immigration status on the 2020 census.
That is, for the first time since the 1960s, participants in the next census will be asked whether or not they are citizens.
Attorney General Xavier Becerra called the question “illegal” and recently filed a law suit contesting the decision from the Trump administration.
Per Washington Examiner:
The question is being included at the request of the Justice Department, and is expected to pit the Trump administration against Democratic states, which are expected to argue the question will produce inaccurately low numbers.
The Department of Commerce said in a statement that having such data will allow a more effective enforcement of the Voting Rights Act.
Becerra and California Secretary of State Alex Padilla wrote in an op-ed published before the decision that the question would be “an extraordinary attempt by the Trump administration to hijack the 2020 census for political purposes.”
#BREAKING: Filing suit against @realdonaldtrump‘s Administration over decision to add #citizenship question on #2020Census. Including the question is not just a bad idea — it is illegal: https://t.co/vW8sa7khq9
— Xavier Becerra (@AGBecerra) March 27, 2018
“The Constitution requires the government to conduct an ‘actual enumeration’ of the total population, regardless of citizenship status. And since 1790, the census has counted citizens and noncitizens alike,” Becerra argued, via the SF Chronicle.
“The census has a specific constitutional purpose: to provide an accurate count of all residents, which then allows for proper allotment of congressional representatives to the states,” the op-ed continued. “The Census Bureau has a long history of working to ensure the most accurate count of the U.S. population in a nonpartisan manner, based on scientific principles.”
Becerra argued the question would also disproportionally affect California:
“California, with its large immigrant communities, would be disproportionately harmed by depressed participation in the 2020 census. An undercount would threaten at least one of California’s seats in the House of Representatives (and, by extension, an elector in the electoral college.) It would deprive California and its cities and counties of their fair share of billions of dollars in federal funds.”
“The politicization of the 2020 census must stop now. By the end of the week, the bureau will announce its final list of census questions. Secretary Ross should uphold the government’s constitutional duty to count all people in every part of the country — and reject the Justice Department’s dangerous call to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.”
Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin contested the decision from the California AG over social media.
“No…actually it is definitely not illegal to ask an illegal whether they are in the US legally, but maybe the California AG will find himself an activist judge somewhere in the court system to agree with this ridiculous lawsuit,” the New York congressman tweeted.
No…actually it is definitely not illegal to ask an illegal whether they are in the US legally, but maybe the California AG will find himself an activist judge somewhere in the court system to agree with this ridiculous lawsuit. https://t.co/yZC2AxruXs
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) March 27, 2018