It often seems as if the Trump administration wants to bring back 1950 in a general way, though a recent move makes a very specific point regarding the 2020 U.S. census. After spending a full year threatening the DREAMers and firing off travel bans like so many airborne paper towels, it's easy to argue that his overtly nationalist platform is somewhat unfriendly to non-citizens. So bringing back the question "Are you a U.S. Citizen?" on the next census has a lot of folks concerned.
California is the first state to push back:
According to the California lawsuit, the citizenship question would discourage participation and violate the Constitution's mandate for "actual enumeration."
It is long settled that all persons residing in the United States — citizens and non-citizens alike — must be counted to fulfill the Constitution’s ‘actual Enumeration’ mandate.
California State Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement:
The Census numbers provide the backbone for planning how our communities can grow and thrive in the coming decade. What the Trump administration is requesting is not just alarming, it is an unconstitutional attempt to discourage an accurate Census count.
California sues Trump administration over addition of citizenship question to census.— Alfons López Tena #FBPE (@alfonslopeztena) March 27, 2018
The suit is just the beginning of a high-stakes political battle that could affect:
•representation in Congress
•distribution of federal funds https://t.co/bNNYCblSvH
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross claims the citizenship question would allow the "better enforcement of voting laws," neatly blending Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric with his disprovable claim that "millions voted illegally" in the 2016 election.
Adding a citizenship question would likely keep many people from responding, which would cause undercounts, particularly in communities with large immigrant populations. Inaccurate counts could cost states like California seats in Congress, federal funding based on population, and electoral college votes in presidential elections at a time when many states are redistricting and threatening the gerrymandering that has protected Republican seats nationwide.
Eric Holder, a former Obama U.S. Attorney General and current head of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, said his group would also file suit.
"The addition of a citizenship question to the census questionnaire is a direct attack on our representative democracy,” he said in a statement.
Many Americans celebrated the lawsuits while announcing they'd boycott the citizen question:
If citizenship question ends up on census & I don't answer, what are the ramifications for me AND for the area I live in?— MC Miller (@M_C_Miller) March 27, 2018
Could we ALL choose to not answer as protest?
If so, I'd like to threaten my MoCs with this option.
RT, help me find the answer!https://t.co/q3h4YcGtYi