LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — California is suing President Trump and his administration over their latest effort to bar people in the U.S. illegally from being counted in the 2020 Census, as officials urge Angelenos to participate to ensure future funding for health care, schools and other social services.
Los Angeles County’s census response is 58.8% as of July 26, behind California’s 63.6% response rate, and the county’s goal of 100% participation. If the response rate doesn’t improve, officials say the county is at risk of losing out on federal funding to respond to emergencies like COVID-19 and won’t have the chance for a do-over for another decade.
An accurate count of the county’s population is needed because it will influence billions of dollars in federal funding that will help patients access health care services, substance abuse disorder treatment and prevention, schools, support for people who lose their jobs and services for seniors.
“We all lose if our residents don’t take part,” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “Not completing the census is like throwing away money that we desperately need to protect the health and well-being of our communities and families.”
The county says it is stepping up its census outreach campaign by placing posters and flyers at COVID-19 testing sites.
Completing the census is private, responses are protected by federal law, and cannot be shared with any other government agencies or other entities, including landlords. Responding to the census does not require U.S. citizenship, despite President Trump’s efforts to bar people who are in the U.S illegally from participating.
A lawsuit was filed Tuesday by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the cities of Long Beach, Los Angeles and Oakland, and the the Los Angeles Unified School District, challenging the president’s memorandum aimed at excluding undocumented immigrants from being counted in the census for the purpose of Congressional apportionment. The lawsuit alleges that the memorandum ignores that the framers of the U.S. Constitution required that each state’s representation in Congress reflect all persons regardless of their ability to vote, including children, women, and the “entire immigrant population not naturalized.”
“President Trump still believes he can sidestep the U.S. Constitution,” Becerra said in a statement. “A complete, accurate census count is critical to ensure we get the Congressional representation and resources we have a right to.”
To complete the census, go to my2020census.gov or call 844-330-2020 or by mail with the paper form that was sent to homes earlier this year. Because of the pandemic, the last day to participate in the census was extended to Oct. 31.