California AG, Eric Holder To Sue Trump Administration Over Citizenship Question On 2020 Census

California's Attorney General, Xavier Becerra (D) said a new question included on the 2020 census asking for citizenship status is illegal, and he will sue the Trump administration to remove it.

"We're prepared to do what we must to protect California from a deficient Census. Including a citizenship question on the 2020 census is not just a bad idea — it is illegal," said Becerra in a statement.

"Including a citizenship question on the 2020 census is not just a bad idea — it is illegal," Becerra wrote in a Monday San Francisco Chronicle opinion piece along with California Secretary of State Alex Padilla.

"The size of your child’s kindergarten class. Homeland security funds for your community. Natural disaster preparation. Highway and mass transit resources. Health care and emergency room services. 

Vital services such as these would be jeopardized and our voice in government diminished if the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 count resulted in an undercount" -Xavier Becerra

In other words - the U.S. government shouldn't be allowed to ask if U.S. residents are legal citizens, because it may lead to underreporting and therefore fewer benefits and Congressional representation would go to regions with high concentrations of illegal aliens

Becerra argues that the Constitution requires the government conduct an "actual enumeration" of the total population - which, the California AG argues, should be conducted regardless of citizenship. 

The census has a specific constitutional purpose: to provide an accurate count of all residents, which then allows for proper allotment of congressional representatives to the states. The Census Bureau has a long history of working to ensure the most accurate count of the U.S. population in a nonpartisan manner, based on scientific principles.

Separately, former Obama Attorney General Eric Holder announced that he is also filing a lawsuit to stop the citizenship question from being included in the 2020 census. 

"We will litigate to stop the Administration from moving forward with this irresponsible decision," Holder said in a Tuesday morning statement. "The addition of a citizenship question to the census questionnaire is a direct attack on our representative democracy. 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. By asking this question, states will not have accurate representation and individuals in impacted communities will lose out on state and federal funding for health care, education, and infrastructure."

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced the reinstatement of the citizenship question in a post to the department's website (here). The question last appeared on the 1950 census.

As The Hill notes, the DOJ under Attorney General Jeff Sessions pushed for the inclusion of the question - arguing that it would allow Justice to better enforce the Voting Rights Act. 

The census question has led lawmakers and pundits alike to opine on the legality, morality and practicality of such a move: 

It will be interesting to see how this is somehow spun as a Russian trick by the usual suspects...