Monterey County is joining a lawsuit over the 2020 U.S. census. The lawsuit aims to stop the Trump Administration from asking about citizenship status in the upcoming nationwide population count.
The census is supposed to count everyone in the country, citizens and noncitizens alike, every ten years. It’s important because the count determines how much federal funding an area receives. It also determines representation in Congress and the Electoral College.
The Census Bureau says that if people skip the citizenship question, they will still be counted.
Still, Monterey County Counsel Charles McKee says the question could stop some people from participating. So that’s why Monterey County is joining the lawsuit.
“There are many people in this country who are here that do not have documents. There are people here who are here legally with documents who also find that they may be intimidated by this question,” says McKee.
Monterey County currently gets about $15 million a year in federal funding. An inaccurate count could mean losing some of that. It's money that goes toward programs for housing, child care and infrastructure.
“Whether you’re an immigrant or not, this issue will impact the entire county because if we lose money, that hurts all of us,” says Monterey County Supervisor Luis Alejo.
Monterey County is joining 18 states, nine cities, four counties plus Washington D.C. and the U.S. Conference of Mayors in this lawsuit. The lawsuit, which is against the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Census Bureau, will be filed in New York.