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|February 21, 2019|
California AG pushes back on proposal to ask citizenship in census
SACRAMENTO--California Attorney General Xavier Becerra threatened another lawsuit against the Trump administration if the federal government follows through on a proposal to include a question about citizenship on the 2020 census.
Becerra, along with attorneys general from New York and Massachusetts, led a coalition of 19 colleagues that sent a letter to the U.S. Commerce Secretary on Monday arguing that a question about citizenship would have a chilling effect on immigrant participation in the official population count. That would be harmful to states like California that have large immigrant communities, the letter says.
“What the Trump Administration is requesting is not just alarming, it is illegal,” Becerra said. “The California Department of Justice is putting President Trump on notice: if a citizenship question is added to the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau questionnaire, we are prepared to take any and all necessary legal action to protect a full and accurate Census. This is clearly an attempt to bully and discourage our immigrant communities from participating in the 2020 Census count.”
The Department of Justice sent a request in December to the U.S. Census Bureau to include a question about citizenship on the next census in order to measure the citizen voting-age population for enforcement of the Voting Rights Act.
In their letter, the attorneys general argued that would weaken voting rights rather than strengthen them.
Since the census is used to determine the number of Congressional representatives to allocate, the state officials who signed the letter are concerned that places with large immigrant communities would be underrepresented.
They’re also worried that federal funding that is given out based on population size would also shrink for places with large immigrant communities because non-citizens or former non-citizens might hesitate to participate in a census that asks about citizenship status.
“As the largest and most diverse state in the nation, California has a lot on the line and only one chance to get it right,” said California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. “We will not sit idly by while this administration undermines yet another pillar of our democracy.”
The proposed questionnaire for the 2020 census is due at the end of March. (Source: The San Diego Union Tribune)
Story Date: February 23, 2018