The city of Firebaugh passed a resolution Monday opposing the citizenship question on the 2020 U.S. Census — the fifth city in the central San Joaquin Valley to do so.
The City Council approved the resolution with four council members voting in favor, and only council member Elsa Lopez opposing it, according to Mayor Pro Tem Marcia Sablan.
“We felt that this really was important to our community because the census is so important to us ... to hold our place in the federal granting system, state granting system and for planning for our future development,” Sablan said. “The census may not be completed by people fearful of that question.”
By passing such resolution, Firebaugh joined the cities of Livingston, Farmersville, Orange Cove and San Joaquin in taking a stance to oppose the citizenship question on the census, said Samuel Molina, state director with Mi Familia Vota.
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Los Angeles also passed a similar resolution earlier this month.
Civic and advocacy groups, including Molina’s Mi Familia Vota, have warned that adding the citizenship to the census could result in less participation in the Central Valley, jeopardizing federal funding for critical areas such as health care.
The passage of the resolution, Molina said, shows there’s a “great concern” about the possibility of not having an accurate count.
“It’s a big concern because we have a great immigrant population and for every person who doesn’t get counted, $1,980 is lost from federal funding, which amounts to nearly 20,000 over the span of 10 years,” he said.
On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg denied a motion by the Trump Administration to dismiss a California lawsuit filed in March by the state’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra arguing that having the citizenship question on the U.S. 2020 Census is unconstitutional.
In the lawsuit, Becerra claims that the citizenship question would violate Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution, which requires an “actual enumeration” of residents in each state every 10 years, as well as federal state statutes, according to a Friday statement by the state’s attorney general’s office.
Attorney General’s Office Press Secretary Tara Gallegos on Tuesday said the next steps in the lawsuit will include conducting discovery, preparing further dispositive motions, and getting ready for trial. The trial date has been set for Jan. 7, 2019.
“We are confident in our lawsuit and will continue to fight to protect California in the Census 2020 process,” she said.
More than 250,000 public comments were submitted to the federal government on the citizenship question by the Aug. 7 deadline, Molina said. But there will be another opportunity for more public comment in the fall.