Seattle City Council Opposes Federal Changes to 2020 Census

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Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide) initiated a council letter signed by all members of Seattle City Council to Secretary Wilbur Ross at the U.S. Department of Commerce opposing the proposed changes to the 2020 census.

“We have a duty to represent the over 700,000 people who live in Seattle, and without accurate data from the 2020 Census we cannot fulfill our responsibilities to adequately protect the health and safety of our community. The Seattle City Council joins other municipalities across the country who have opposed any changes that would weaken the 2020 Census process, exacerbate distrust with the government, or harm our ability to serve our population’s needs,” said Mosqueda.

Nationally, concerns have been raised and communities are outraged about the inclusion of a new question on the 2020 census that asks “Are you a U.S. citizen?” Analysts say that this would destroy and sabotage participation in the census count given the climate of fear and intimidation spread by the Trump administration. Advocates are concerned that both noncitizens and citizens will opt to not fill out the 2020 Census out of fear of how the data will be used.

During Morning Council Briefing last week, Councilmember Mosqueda described the importance of the 2020 Census and the concerns about Secretary Ross’ attempt to include the question about Citizenship status, the removal of questions specific to LGBTQ communities that could improve data and services, the need to supplement online-preferred participation with in-person follow-up, and the drastic cuts that have been projected for the 2020 Census. Mosqueda spoke on this topic at the National League of Cities conference with other concerned Mayors and Councilmembers who spoke directly to Census officials in Washington, DC.

The letter sent by Seattle City Council requests Secretary Ross remove the citizenship question, add back in the LGBTQ demographic question, supplement online-preferred participation with in person follow-up, and fully fund the 2020 Census from the national level to the local level.