California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is threatening to sue if the Trump administration includes a question regarding citizenship on the 2020 census.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Becerra worries citizenship questions will dissuade some California residents from taking the census, thereby under-representing themselves and running the risk of a loss of federal funding for certain parts of the state.
Becerra is part of a coalition of 19 attorneys general who fighting against inclusion of a citizenship. They sent a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Monday, in which Becerra described counting everyone, citizen or not, as a “sacred responsibility.” He wrote:
What the Trump Administration is requesting is not just alarming, it is illegal. The Constitution requires that, every 10 years, we accurately count every person in our country, regardless of citizenship status. This is a sacred responsibility. It determines how many Congressional seats each state receives and how billions of dollars in federal funds are distributed. At the local level, it should also produce an accurate population count that our communities can rely on to identify the need for critical services such as disaster relief, infrastructure, public health, and police and fire protection.
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. We also call on Congress to fully and immediately fund preparations for the 2020 Census. California simply has too much to lose for us to allow the Trump Administration to botch this important decennial obligation.
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla added, “We will not sit idly by while this administration undermines yet another pillar of our democracy.”