California sues Trump team on citizenship census

State says asking census respondents about citizenship status fails to heed history’s lessons
WASHINGTON: California is suing the Donald Trump administration for its decision to ask respondents to the 2020 census about their citizenship status, state Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Tuesday.
“During World War II, the federal govt. used #Census data to identify Japanese-American families for internment,” Becerra said on Twitter. “But the #Trump Administration has failed to learn again from history. They’ve failed to learn the consequences of scaring people…”
The lawsuit filed late Monday is the latest development as California and Washington exchange lawsuits against one another. The Trump administration previously sued California for its refusal to assist federal immigration efforts.
But a decision Monday night by the Commerce Department to reinstate a citizenship question on the 2020 census prompted California to take legal action.
Central to the state’s opposition are concerns requiring respondents to verify their legal status could ward off non-citizens respondents from taking part in the 10-year tally, and could result in an inaccurate count of populations that would have rippling effects.
“An accurate census count sets in motion the services and benefits that shape the future of every Californian. The census constitutes the backbone for planning how and where our communities will invest taxpayer dollars,” Becerra said in an earlier statement.
A citizenship question was on decennial censuses from 1820 up until 1950, the Commerce Department confirmed in announcing the decision. But White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders inaccurately claimed Tuesday it has been on every survey from 1965 until 2010.
“This is a question that’s been included in every census since 1965, with the exception of 2010 when it was removed,” she told reporters.
The question has been on the ongoing American Community Survey, but has not been on the full form 10-year poll for nearly seventy years.
The official decennial survey is critically important. In addition to using its data to determine resource allocation, the information that is collected determines how congressional districts are redrawn every decade.
The Trump administration has maintained that it is reinstating a citizenship question in order to better enforce the Voting Rights Act, but skeptics have warned it has far more to do with ensuring Democratic states have less polling power.
Former Attorney General Eric Holder, who now works for the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, threatened litigation to stop the Trump administration.
“The addition of a citizenship question to the census questionnaire is a direct attack on our representative democracy,” Holder said in a statement. “This question will lower the response rate and undermine the accuracy of the count, leading to devastating, decade-long impacts on voting rights and the distribution of billions of dollars in federal funding.”
The Constitution of the United States requires the “actual Enumeration” of the people in every state every decade.–AA

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