Editor's note: In a court filing released Wednesday, an official says the Justice Department has been instructed to keep looking for a way to ask 2020 census responders whether they are citizens of the United States. Read more here.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra sued the Trump administration last year within hours of it announcing plans to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census.
Last week the Supreme Court blocked the question after challenges from California and dozens of other states, cities and organizations. President Donald Trump has suggested the census could be delayed because of the ruling.
The 2020 count could have far-reaching impacts for California, whether the question is included or not. Becerra joined CapRadio's Beth Ruyak to discuss the census and what an undercount could mean for the state.
Listen to the full conversation:
On how an undercount in the census could affect California
Regardless of what you're hearing in the news and the shenanigans by the Trump administration, you must count. If you don't want to count, then what you're saying is that you don't want your taxpayer dollars to come back to your state, to your community.
If we get an undercount, California stands to lose billions of dollars every year by some counts, about $115 billion per year could be lost to the state of California of our taxpayer dollars, which we will have paid, if we don't have an accurate count.
On preparations for the 2020 census
So the millions that the Trump administration has deprived the Census Bureau — I've known this for the last two or three decades from working on census both as a member of Congress and before — you have to have a Census Bureau that for the 10 years working up to the census itself is investing, planning, doing test runs. This administration over the last few years has been denying the funding to the Census Bureau that it needs to get ready. On top of that they try to add this harmful question about citizenship.
So both efforts have undermined the census already. But in California, we're investing over $100 million to make sure that in California, the nefarious efforts of this administration don't cause California to suffer a huge undercount.
On how California's undocumented population could be affected by the census
It's hard to say, with precision, what will happen. We don't yet know how the census will be undertaken. But what we do know is from past censuses is that if you have an undercount of 2% or 3%, that could be somewhere between 6-10 million people. For us to get a congressional seat in the House of Representatives, you need about 700-750,000 people. We could lose a congressional seat in the House of Representatives, we would lose an electoral vote in the vote to determine who will be president.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.