The last time a question about citizenship was included in the census questionnaire was 1950.
The decision to include citizenship question came at the request of the US Department of Justice, which said in December it needed the information to better enforce the Voting Rights Act, arguing that it needed citizenship status data to more aptly guard against racial discrimination in voting.
"We will litigate to stop the Administration from moving forward with this irresponsible decision", Holder wrote.
Such a move by the administration had always been rumored-and Democrats have long promised to fight against the inclusion of the citizenship question by way of the courts.
One of the primary complaints from critics was that it may lead to an inaccurate Census count. "My guess? We will have a less accurate census than the nation could have had". "And for the approximately 70 percent of non-citizens who already answer this question accurately on the [American Community Survey], the question is no additional imposition". The Justice Department now uses data from that survey to enforce the Voting Rights Act, but says the data is "insufficient in scope, detail, and certainty" for use in identifying voting rights violations, Ross wrote. The move comes after a 2017 request by the Justice Department to include the question. Like Texas, California also has an outsized number of undocumented residents.
In a state like Texas, asking residents whether they are USA citizens could "torpedo an accurate count", the Texas Tribune reported, meaning "the state might lose its projected gain of three congressional seats" in the 2020 survey.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the state will sue the Trump Administration over its addition of the question to the 2020 Census.
"An undercount would threaten at least one of California's seats in the House of Representatives (and, by extension, an elector in the electoral college)", they wrote.
Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY) said, "We don't need a citizenship question, we need an accurate census to guide how many seats in the House of Representatives will be reapportioned and how federal funds will be disbursed in the next decade".