California Sues Trump Administration Over Census Citizenship Question – Ari Berman Mar. 27, 2018 3:01 PM


California becomes the first state to challenge the question, which could massively suppress immigrant responses.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Secretary of State Alex Padilla at a news conference Tuesday in Sacramento.Rich Pedroncelli/AP

The state of California has filed suit against the Trump administration for its controversial decision to add a question about US citizenship to the 2020 census form, becoming the first state to challenge the administration’s action in court.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the question would cause immigrants not to respond to the 2020 census form. “Given the way the Trump administration has attacked immigrants, you could understand why immigrant families would be afraid to fill out census questionnaire,” he said at a Tuesday press conference in Sacramento. California Secretary of State Alex Padilla called the question “a concerted effort to suppress a fair and accurate census count.”

The lawsuit, filed late Monday night in federal court in California, claims that the citizenship question violates the US Constitution’s requirement that the government undertake an “actual Enumeration” of the country’s total population, not just of US citizens, along with a provision of the 1946 Administrative Procedure Act—which governs regulations for government agencies—barring “arbitrary and capricious” agency action.

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