Attorney General Becerra Issues Response to Supreme Court Opinion on Census Citizenship Question

Thursday, June 27, 2019
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Attorney General Becerra encourages Californians to participate in the 2020 census

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court decision on the U.S. census. Attorney General Becerra encourages Californians and individuals nationwide to participate in the census to ensure an accurate count.

"Today’s decision calls into question the Trump Administration’s dubious reasoning for adding the citizenship question to the 2020 census, but we also know that the fight must go on. We will continue to defend a value we hold dear in California: everyone counts. We will fight to ensure that our friends, neighbors, and loved ones can stand up and be counted without fear. The services we all rely on — good schools, decent roads and public transportation, reliable public safety, and quality hospitals and clinics — are all on the line. In 2020, with this census, 40 million Californians  — young and old, rich and poor, citizen and immigrant — will have a chance to lift their voices together to declare: We’re here, we count, and none of us will be pushed into the shadows.”

About the Census

Every 10 years, the U.S. Constitution requires a census, a count of the nation’s entire population. 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 in federal funding annually to fund programs and services that support the health and well-being of our communities are at stake. California cannot afford an undercount – it is critical for everyone to be counted, regardless of immigration status.

The California Census Office provides resources to make it easier for partners and stakeholders to help spread the message about the importance of participating in the 2020 Census to communities throughout California.

Census data is protected by law. Under Title 13 of the U.S. Code, census data is strictly confidential and can only be used for statistical purposes. Information provided cannot be used against residents by any government agency or court of law. For more than two hundred years, that’s the way it’s always been. More information about the Census Bureau’s protection of personal, identifiable information can be found here.

Background on Census Litigation

Today’s opinion decides a legal challenge brought by many states and the American Civil Liberties Union against the Trump Administration’s decision to add the citizenship question to the 2020 census. On the day the Trump Administration announced the decision, March 26, 2018, Attorney General Becerra filed the first lawsuit to challenge President Trump’s unlawful maneuver, with the County of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Unified School District, and the Cities of Fremont, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, and Stockton joining soon after. 

On March 6, 2019, Attorney General Becerra and his coalition secured a victory in their lawsuit, when the district court ruled that the citizenship question was unconstitutional and unlawful. That ruling blocked the Trump Administration from including the question on the grounds that it violated the Constitution and the Administrative Procedure Act and would likely lead to a greater undercount of the actual population. On March 18, in their petition for certiorari, the federal government requested that the U.S. Supreme Court consider California’s district court ruling. On March 5, Attorney General Becerra filed an amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court in this census case, arguing that the district court’s judgment is correct and should be both considered and affirmed.

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