Livingston votes to oppose Census citizenship question

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- "Is this person a citizen of the United States?"

That's the controversial question that the Trump administration wants to add to the 2020 Census.

It's the first time since 1950 that the question will be included in the national survey of all Americans.

Livingston city council members say for many in their community that "simple" question is a concerning one.

The majority of the city's population is Hispanic, so the concern is that community members will be afraid to answer the Census because of the citizenship question.

That's why the councilmember Alex McCabe says he and his colleagues passed a resolution unanimously on Tuesday in opposition of putting the question in the Census.

"We're concerned that undocumented citizens may not be willing to give their information if they think they're going to pinpoint who is a US citizen and who is not."

The Commerce Department (which oversees the Census Bureau) says it added the question at the request of the Justice Department, which says it needs the data from the question to enforce the Voting Rights Act.

Councilmembers think the question could deter many in city's diverse community from answering the questionnaire, leading to an undercount of the population.

"Congressional districts are based on the 2020 census, so we want our voices heard and everyone matters. Every person matters. If we don't get an accurate count, we may not get the level of representation we deserve," said McCabe.

A misrepresentation of the population could also lower federal funding for projects. It could even harm even business opportunities in the long run.

"If your community has 20,000 people like our could have by the 2020 Census, but numbers are saying 14,000, businesses may not want to relocate here or locate here because it does not meet their threshold," said McCabe.

California receives more than $70 billion in federal funding annually, based on 2010 Census information.

Xavier Becerra, the Attorney General of California, is currently suing the Trump administration over the question.

"We're hoping that what we do is win this lawsuit, remove a very biased question from the census, and then do everything we can to get people to participate."

The Merced County Republican Party also responded to the citizenship question saying, "We just hope the Census counts everybody it is supposed to count."
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