California Files Census Lawsuit

Census Lawsuit

The Constitution mandates that a census be taken in the United States every ten years. The census is carried out by the Commerce Department, and the goal of the census is to get an accurate count of the population. The government needs to know how many people there are and where they live for representational apportionment.

Each of the census forms has a number of questions that households are asked to answer. Most of these questions are demographic in nature. One question that has not been included on the census forms since the 1950s is a question about whether or not the person filling in the form is a citizen.

The Commerce Department has announced that once again, the citizenship question will be on the 2020 census. The Trump administration states that they need to ask this question in order to appropriately uphold the Voting Rights Act.

The inclusion of this question has angered officials in the state of California. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has announced that he will be suing the federal government in an effort to have the citizenship question removed from the census form.

The attorney general and other California state officials claim that the reason behind including the citizenship question has nothing to do with the Voting Rights Act. They claim that adding the question is an attempt to intimidate immigrants into not filling out the census form. California state officials believe that it is an attempt by the Trump administration to suppress the actual count in areas where there is a significant immigrant population. If the number of people in an area is undercounted, that area might not receive the representation in Congress that it is entitled to.

Eric Holder, the former attorney general of the United States, has weighed in on the issue. He has stated that nothing in the Voting Rights Act requires a citizenship question on the census. The political group that Mr. Holder now represents will be joining with California in the lawsuit against the federal government. It is highly likely that some other states will join the lawsuit as well in the coming days and weeks.