The decennial survey is unquestionably important in not only establishing the makeup of the U.S. population but also in the allocation of federal aid and representational issues. However, it is hard to argue that the government cannot seek more information on the population, particularly information previously collected.
Indeed, while critics cite the 1950 date, that is only true if you confine yourself to decennial surveys. The Census Bureau has continued to ask such a question on surveys, including under the Clinton Administration without objection or challenge. This includes non-decennial surveys and the American Community Survey (“ACS”).
Nevertheless, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) filed suit to block the inclusion of the question and declared “California simply has too much to lose for us to allow the Trump administration to botch this important decennial obligation.”
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) also pledged to file and cited the 14th Amendment and the enumeration clause of the Constitution as potential areas for legal challenges. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi declared the inclusion to be blatantly unconstitutional.
Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Tom Perez called the move “a craven attack on our democracy and a transparent attempt to intimidate immigrant communities.”