The Los Angeles City Council approved a resolution Tuesday opposing a proposed citizenship question on the 2020 U.S. Census over concerns it could discourage participation and decrease the accuracy of the results.
The unanimously approved resolution was attached to a report from the Office of the Chief Legislative Analyst, which said that questioning respondents’ citizenship status serves no specific purpose for the Census Bureau, and could deter citizens and non-citizens alike from responding for fear of governmental retribution.
The resolution also puts the council on record in opposition to several other proposed changes to the census, including encouraging internet responses and an increased reliance on existing administrative records in order to compile the master address files.
Encouraging internet response to the census is likely to disadvantage those with little or no internet access, the CLA report said, adding that an increased reliance on existing administrative records to complete the master address file could cause problems because the records are often outdated and incomplete.
The city and county of Los Angeles and several other major California cities in May joined the state’s lawsuit opposing the federal government’s addition of a citizenship question on the 2020 U.S. Census.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed the lawsuit in March, arguing that the question could lead many immigrants to opt out of responding out of fear it could be used to identify them or their relatives for deportation if they are in the country illegally.
An estimated 3.5 million immigrants live in the county of Los Angeles, and roughly $400 billion in federal funding for education, public health, transportation and other critical functions are allocated on the basis of the census data, as are congressional seats.
“Here in Los Angeles, we need to assure that the count is accurate, and I want to underscore the point — every member of our community in Los Angeles stands to suffer if there is an undercount,”City Attorney Mike Feuer said in May. “All of Los Angeles stands to benefit from funds that are allocated based on an accurate count of our population.”
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