SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) — California, along with the cities of Oakland, Los Angeles, Long Beach and the Los Angeles Unified School District, filed a lawsuit Tuesday against President Trump’s directive seeking to bar undocumented immigrants from being included in the U.S. Census headcount for the redrawing of congressional districts.
The suit filed by state Attorney General Xavier Becerra is the latest in a series of lawsuits filed against the administration after the President released last week a memorandum instructing Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to include in the 2020 Census results information on the number of immigrants in the U.S. without authorization to be excluded from the apportionment count.
The lawsuit asserts that the Trump Administration’s memo on apportionment is unconstitutional and ignores that the framers of the U.S. Constitution required that each state’s representation in Congress reflect all persons, regardless of their immigration status. An analysis by Pew Research Center showed California, Florida and Texas would end up with one less congressional seat each than if every resident were counted in the redrawing of House districts.
“You can’t be a law-and-order president if you keep breaking the law,” said Becerra in a press statement. “This latest attack on the census is just that — it’s unlawful. President Trump still believes he can sidestep the U.S. Constitution. A complete, accurate census count is critical to ensure we get the Congressional representation and resources we have a right to.”
“President Trump’s latest attack on a complete and accurate census count is not only unconstitutional — it fundamentally undermines our democracy,” said Oakland City Attorney Barbara J. Parker in a statement. “This lawsuit is about making sure everyone in Oakland, in California, and across the United States, can stand up and be counted — no matter their background or their immigration status. We will fight back against any effort to count out the workers and families that make our communities richer, stronger, and more American.”
The results of the census determine state representation in Congress as well as the distribution of crucial federal funding. Billions of dollars that California receives annually to fund programs and services that support the health and well-being of our communities are at stake. It is vitally important that California get back its fair share. California cannot afford an undercount — it is critical for everyone to be counted, regardless of their immigration status.
At least three other lawsuits have been filed against the Trump administration over the directive to exclude undocumented immigrants from the apportionment process, including from the American Civil Liberties Union, government watchdog Common Cause, and a coalition of 20 states, cities and localities.
Last year, the Trump administration decided to move ahead with the 2020 Census without adding a citizenship question following months of debate over the issue.
The decision followed a Supreme Court ruling that the Trump administration’s explanation for adding the citizenship question – purportedly to assist in the enforcement of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – was contrived and insufficient.
Secretary Ross, who oversees the Census Bureau, has been accused of using the citizenship question to depress minority responses for political purposes.