California sues Trump administration over citizenship question on 2020 Census

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California's attorney general has filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over its decision to add a citizenship status to the Census. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the state has filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over its decision to ask about citizenship status in the 2020 U.S. Census.

"Given the way that this administration has attacked immigrants, you can understand why immigrant families would be afraid to fill out the Census questionnaire," Becerra said Tuesday morning at a joint press conference with California Secretary of State Alex Padilla.

The Commerce Department announced Monday night the question about citizenship will be included in the next Census. Officials say the data will help the Justice Department enforce the Voting Rights Act, which protects minority voting rights.

Opponents say the question will discourage immigrants from responding to the Census and cause a population undercount.

After the announcement Monday, Becerra announced his state would file the suit, saying the citizenship question is unconstitutional and would violate federal statutes.

Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin, a Democrat, told AP on Tuesday that he expected his state would also join in a lawsuit. He called the move by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross an attempt to suppress the count in states such as Massachusetts that have large immigrant populations.

The Census helps determine several things including political representation in Congress and the distribution of federal money.
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