Critics have charged that the Census is supposed to count all USA residents, including illegal aliens, who are believed less likely to respond to forms in the mail that include a citizenship question.
California and NY vowed to sue to block the move, saying it will deter immigrants from participating.
"The goal is to determine individuals who are here", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Tuesday.
The Center for Immigration Studies, a group that pushes for decreased immigration says participation in the census has already decreased and that it seems unlikely that a citizenship question would decrease census participation.
"We are glad to stand with NY and the other participating states in challenging this unnecessary question regarding citizenship status - both to protect New Jersey residents and ensure a fair and accurate census", Grewal said.
A frequent critic of the Trump administration, Cuomo said the citizenship question is anti-immigrant and another attack on NY.
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A citizenship question hasn't appeared on the census form since 1950, according to the Commerce Department.
A census is mandated under the United States constitution and takes place every 10 years, counting every resident in the country. The act protects minorities' voting rights.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a memorandum at the time of the announcement that, after examining various potential impacts, he found "the need for accurate citizenship data and the limited burden that the reinstatement of the citizenship question would impose outweigh fears about potentially lower response rate".
Becerra is expected to announce the lawsuit, which could also include 18 other states, on Tuesday morning.
As early as September of previous year, months before the announcement that the question was a possibility, Census researchers spoke up about exactly these concerns. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, praised Ross for announcing the decision to include a citizenship question, calling it a "reasonable, common sense addition to the census".
"Even if the question is removed, there will be barriers we will have to get through", said John C. Yang, the president and executive director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice.
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The White House says the decision to include a citizenship question in the 2020 U.S. Census was not made in the West Wing.
NY state's attorney general said on Tuesday he will lead a multistate lawsuit to try to stop the federal government from asking people whether they are citizens in the 2020 Census, arguing the move will discourage immigrants from participating.
"Undercounting the sizeable number of Californian non-citizens and their citizen relatives will imperil the State's fair share of congressional seats and Electoral College electors and will cost the State billions in federal funding over the next decade", the attorney general's lawsuit says.
Former U.S. Attorney Eric Holder has described the Trump administration action as a "direct attack on our representative democracy" and we inclined to agree.
Becerra and his state have been central to virtually every legal challenge of the Trump administration on issues ranging from immigration, to the environment, to health care.
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