California AG to sue Trump administration over census citizenship question

California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier Becerra18 state attorneys general call on Justice Dept to release Mueller report California Assembly Speaker pens fiery response to Pence Dems prepare next steps after Trump's veto MORE (D) said late Monday he is filing a lawsuit against the Trump administration over its decision to include a question on citizenship in the 2020 census. 

"We're prepared to do what we must to protect California from a deficient Census. Including a citizenship question on the 2020 census is not just a bad idea — it is illegal," Becerra said in a statement.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossThe Hill's 12:30 Report: O'Rourke jumps into 2020 fray 'Marie Antoinette' activist attends House hearing to protest Trump Commerce chief The Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Senate GOP clash over Yemen, border security MORE announced his decision to reinstate the citizenship question in a post on the Commerce website, despite strong objections from Democrats in recent weeks.

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The Department of Justice under Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsPress: Should the media apologize to Donald Trump? After Mueller, Democrats need to avoid the Javert trap Mueller probe: A timeline from beginning to end MORE has pushed for inclusion of the question, arguing that it would allow the department to better enforce the Voting Rights Act.

Hours before the decision was announced, an op-ed penned by Becerra and California Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D) was published that argued including the question would disproportionately affect California, which has several large immigrant communities. 

However, Democrats have expressed concerns that adding the question would result in an inaccurate population count because it would discourage some immigrants from filling out the questionnaire, given the Trump administration's crackdown on those in the country illegally. 

Several lawmakers voiced opposition to the announcement on Monday night.

Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Manafort sentenced to total of 7.5 years in prison Acting Defense chief calls Graham an 'ally' after tense exchange William Barr is right man for the times MORE (D-N.J.) used the announcement to promote a bill he and other Senate Democrats introduced that would prohibit the census from asking about citizenship or immigration status. 

Rep. José Serrano (D-N.Y.) also vowed to present an amendment to eliminate the citizenship question.

Rep. Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyBooker takes early lead in 2020 endorsements New York Rep. Maloney endorses Gillibrand for president Pelosi says impeaching Trump 'just not worth it' MORE (D), who represents parts of New York City, said Ross “deliberately compromised the integrity of the Census for political purposes.”

But GOP Rep. Warren DavidsonWarren Earl DavidsonNew push to open banks to marijuana industry Washington must defend American crypto innovation, not crush it GOP lawmaker unveils bill soliciting private contributions to pay for border wall MORE (Ohio) spoke out in favor of the Trump administration's decision, arguing representation in the House "should be based on citizens, not on residents."