Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., described the reactions of people like California Attorney General Javier Becerra over including the citizenship question in the 2020 census “the latest absurd freak out.”
The Trump administration’s Commerce Department announced earlier this week that the upcoming census would reinstate the citizenship question, which was included in nearly every tally of the nation’s population from 1820 to 1950.
A statement by Commerce indicated the Department of Justice requested the question be added back in order to get an accurate picture of the citizens of voting age in the country for purposes of enforcing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross “determined that obtaining complete and accurate information to meet this legitimate government purpose outweighed the limited potential adverse impacts.”
The department further noted the same question is already included in its annual American Community Survey.
Rubio — who is the son of immigrant parents from Cuba — agreed with the agency’s decision to ask about citizenship in the census and tweeted on Wednesday, “Latest absurd freak out is over #census2020 citizenship question.”
He added, “In every nation citizenship matters, so shouldn’t we know how many we have? And districts apportioned based on # of people not here legally dilutes the political representation of citizens & legal residents.”
Latest absurd freak out is over #census2020 citizenship question. In every nation citizenship matters, so shouldn’t we know how many we have? And districts apportioned based on # of people not here legally dilutes the political representation of citizens & legal residents.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 28, 2018
Becerra filed a lawsuit on Tuesday to block the Trump administration’s inclusion of the question of citizenship.
In an op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle, Becerra and California Secretary of State Alex Padilla accused the Trump administration of trying to “hijack the 2020 census for political purposes” by adding the question.
“Innocuous at first blush, its effect would be truly insidious. It would discourage noncitizens and their citizen family members from responding to the census, resulting in a less accurate population count,” they contended.
Here's the lawsuit we filed last night against @realdonaldtrump's #census2020 decision. #California simply has too much to lose for us to allow his Administration to botch this obligation! #citizenship pic.twitter.com/Kp1WWJ3jC8
— Xavier Becerra (@AGBecerra) March 27, 2018
“California, with its large immigrant communities, would be disproportionately harmed by depressed participation in the 2020 census,” the two added. “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.”
In conservative political commentator Michelle Malkin’s estimation, Becerra and other’s opposition to a question about citizenship is all about political power.
— William Davis (@davis1988will) March 28, 2018
“I did plenty of reporting on this under the Obama administration,” she told Fox News. “This is a power grab. And under the Obama administration, they tried to turn the Census Bureau into a massive community organizing experiment, because what is at stake? Electoral power.”
She continued, “Census is used to apportion congressional seats. More people, more seats and if you can count illegal aliens as part of that, it’s no illegal alien left behind.”
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