The U.S. Commerce Department is expected to reinstate the citizenship question on the census, a decision that President Trump’s re-election campaign has endorsed. According to the Commerce Department, “The citizenship question will be the same as the one that is asked on the yearly American Community Survey (ACS).”
There is also historical precedence for this question to be included in the census. A statement released by the Commerce Department said, “Citizenship questions have also been included on prior decennial censuses. Between 1820 and 1950, almost every decennial census asked a question on citizenship in some form. Today, surveys of sample populations, such as the Current Population Survey and the ACS, continue to ask a question on citizenship.”
The move, however, has been criticized harshly from the left. California Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, announced Monday he will sue the Trump Administration for asking about citizenship status on the 2020 U.S. Census. Becerra claims that including citizenship on the census is “not just a bad idea – it is illegal.”
#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
Becerra claims that the specific constitutional purpose of the census is “to provide an accurate count of all residents, which then allows for proper allotment of congressional representatives to the states.” He says the census should conduct an “actual enumeration” of all residents, not just U.S. citizens.
The California Attorney General says that President Trump is attempting to “hijack the 2020 census for political purpose.” However, Becerra seems to be doing just that in his own lawsuit and op-ed. In his op-ed, he claims this move is similar to Trump’s moves on travel bans, DACA, and ICE, although he includes no facts to back that up.
The goal of the census is to collect an accurate picture of the U.S. population to allocate funding and Congressional seats to states. California cashes in on a large illegal immigration population in order to increase federal funding and Congressional representation. Commerce officials said “obtaining complete and accurate information to meet this legitimate government purpose outweighed the limited potential adverse impacts.”
The Justice Department has stated an accurate picture of U.S. Citizens is crucial to effectively enforce the laws, specifically the Voting Rights Act. The U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said regarding the lawsuit and the citizenship question,”The Department of Justice and the Trump administration are going to fight these unjust, unfair, and unconstitutional policies that are imposed on you. We are fighting to make your jobs safer and to help you reduce crime in America. And I believe that we are going to win.”