A Los Angeles City Council committee Wednesday opposed a proposal to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census over concerns it could lead to inaccurate counts and an unfair allocation of federal funding by discouraging immigrants from participating.
The Rules, Elections, and Intergovernmental Relations Committee approved without discussion a resolution that was introduced by Council President Herb Wesson. If approved by the full council, it would add to the city’s 2017-2018 Federal Legislative Program opposition to the citizenship question.
The resolution would also align the city with a January vote by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors expressing opposition to a citizenship question.
The resolution says that the citizenship question could “dampen participation rates in immigrant communities because of the Trump administration’s emphasis on deportation and border security.”
The census is used in setting the number of each state’s congressional representatives and to allocate millions of dollars in federal funding. The 2020 Census is the first that will be managed primarily online, which the resolution said would create an additional barrier for low-income families and communities of color.
The resolution also said that the census “has not included a question related to citizenship for nearly 70 years. Opposing the citizenship question on the 2020 Census form is consistent with the city’s previous actions of protecting immigrant communities from persecution and ensuring an accurate population count.”
The U.S. Department of Justice said in its request to the Census Bureau that it needed the citizenship data to enforce voting rights.
“The Department needs a reliable calculation of the citizen voting- age population in localities where voting rights violations are alleged or suspected” to protect against racial discrimination in voting, according to a Dec. 12 DOJ letter published by ProPublica.
—City News Service