16Jan

LA County Says “No” to Adding Immigration Question to 2020 Census

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted today to voice their opposition to a recent Department of Justice proposal to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census form.

“Whether unintentional or by design, including a citizenship question in the Census will not only result in an inaccurate count, it would deny communities with immigrant populations –like LA County– their fair share of Federal funding and resources,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn.

The census has not included a question related to citizenship for nearly 70 years. However, a letter by the DOJ to the Census Bureau suggests doing just that. Including a question on immigration status may deter undocumented and immigrant populations from completing a census form out of fear and possible deportation. In response, the Board of Supervisors passed a motion, authored by Supervisor Hilda L. Solis and co-authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn, to send a five-signature letter to the Department of Commerce opposing a citizenship question on the 2020 Census form.

“The 2020 Census is the first Census that will be done primarily electronically, which creates anadditional barrier for low-income families and communities of color,” said Supervisor Solis. “Addingany question makes the form longer, reducing response rates – and adding a citizenship question in particular is likely designed to further depress responses, especially among immigrant communities.Local counties and cities rely on the Census for funding and other opportunities, and residents rely on the Census for proper electoral representation. The federal government must not leave our vulnerable communities underfunded and underrepresented.”

The Supervisors aim to send a strong message to the Administration and Congress through today’s actions. The motion is three-fold and directs the following:

  • Send a five-signature letter to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce and the County’s Congressional delegation, urging that a citizenship question not be included on the 2020 Census form and opposing any proposals that could negatively impact an accurate count of Los Angeles County residents in the 2020 Census.
  • Thank U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris in their opposition efforts to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census and requesting that they author an amendment to prohibit use of funds to include such a question.
  • Enhance the County of Los Angeles 2020 Census Planning Committee and Complete Count Committee’s education and outreach strategy by adding the Office of Immigrant Affairs as a partner in the Planning Committee and CCC’s planning activities.

LA County is home to a large foreign-born population and already faces many challenges in counting minorities, immigrants, and other Hard-to-Survey (HTS) populations.