California’s Attorney General is following the lead of other Attorneys General who have successfully sued Trump and his administration already during the course of this presidency, and his case may be an even stronger one than those pursued by Washington State’s Bob Ferguson — the first to sue Trump, over the Muslim ban — or even Illinois’ Lisa Madigan over student loan policy, Massachusetts’ Maura Healy over the contraception mandate in Obamacare, or the dozens of suits filed by AGs across the country over DACA.
California’s Xavier Becerra is taking on Trump over a question that the administration wants included on the 2020 Census — about citizenship. That’s not just exclusionary, it’s illegal, says Becerra.
The US Constitution requires that the Census conducts an “actual enumeration” of the population of the country, regardless of citizenship status, so that there is an accurate count in terms of policy, appropriations, representation, and any number of other factors that depend on knowing exactly — or as close to exactly as possible — how many people live in any given area.
Including a citizenship question on the Census will, by any account, discourage noncitizens and even simply those with names that sound similar from filling out the questionnaire, given the Trump administration’s vicious crackdown on America’s immigrant population. They would — rightly — fear having their own families ripped apart as they have seen so many times on the news already. The deportation actions taken by Trump’s ICE and Border Patrol agencies have been nothing short of racist in intent and execution, and indiscriminate in whether targets had ever committed any crime other than simply arriving here illegally.
Trump has even detained, deported, and broken up the families of undocumented soldiers who fought for our country.
In fact, discouraging them from filling out the Census is kind of the point for Republicans who want to see this done. For Trump, it’s a matter of punishing California itself, which has been a stalwart in The Resistance, but which has disproportionately high areas of noncitizen community growth. For the rest of the GOP, it’s about simply making sure that noncitizens are not represented by policies created based on a Census that doesn’t include them.
An area with a million people, for example, if 8 percent were noncitizens who did not return Census forms, might get homeland security funding apportioned to an area with only 920,000 people in it. More importantly, as one Republican Congressman admitted on Twitter, scaring noncitizens into not returning Census forms might allow the GOP to eliminate Congressional seats usually held by Democrats in states with high immigrant populations.
#CitizenshipMatters Apportionment for Congressional seats and electoral votes should be based on citizens, not on residents. Otherwise citizens are underrepresented… For example, California gets roughly three extra members of Congress based on estimates of illegal residents. https://t.co/Acq02zM4Ev
— Warren Davidson (@WarrenDavidson) March 27, 2018
That’s not what the Constitution says, though. It says ALL PERSONS.
Unless Republicans are openly admitting now that they don’t consider anyone but an American citizen a “person.” That sure would explain a lot.
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