The Trump administration announced Monday that a question about citizenship with officially be listed on the 2020 census.
The final decision to add the question was made by Commerce Department Secretary Wilbur Ross.
“I find that the need for accurate citizenship data and the limited burden that the reinstatement of the citizenship question would impose outweighs fears about a potentially lower response rate,” Ross wrote in a memo explaining his decision.
“To fully enforce those requirements, the Department needs a reliable calculation of the citizen voting-age population in localities where voting rights violations are alleged or suspected,” the letter stated.
This is the first time that such a question will be asked on the decennial census since 1950.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the question will ask whether a person is a citizen by birth or by naturalization or isn’t a citizen, but won’t ask about whether the immigrant is here illegally.
Democrats, immigration-advocacy groups and even the state of California condemned the decision, claiming the question would scare people from participating and result in a lower census count.
“@CommerceGov Secretary Ross’ decision to include a citizenship question in the 2020 census will only result in a low count and fear. The question is another way to push for a low & unfair count. I will present amendment to under this language,” New York Rep. Jose Serrano tweeted.
@CommerceGov Secretary Ross’ decisión to include a citizenship question in the 2020 census wil only result in a low count and fear. The question is another way to push for a low & unfair count. I will present amendment to undo this language. @uscensusbureau
— José E. Serrano (@RepJoseSerrano) March 27, 2018
By Monday evening, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced plans to file a lawsuit against the Trump administration over the decision.
“The Trump administration is threatening to derail the integrity of the census by seeking to add a question relating to citizenship to the 2020 census questionnaire. 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,” he said in a statement.
#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
“Including a citizenship question on the 2020 census is not just a bad idea — it is illegal,” Becerra added.
Only in America does a country get sued for asking who's in it. https://t.co/abbPShcZ76
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) March 27, 2018
This lawsuit comes after the Trump administration filed a lawsuit against California earlier this month for protecting law-violating illegal immigrants from federal immigration authorities, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“California has chosen to purposefully contradict the will and responsibility of the Congress to protect our Homeland,” she stated. “I appreciate the efforts of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Department of Justice to uphold the rule of law and protect American communities.”
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