L.A. City Attorney and Coalition Reaches Resolution On U.S. Census Lawsuit

US Census Suspends Field Work During Coronavirus Outbreak

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - City Attorney Mike Feuer announced today that a coalition that includes the city and county of Los Angeles has reached a resolution in a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Census Bureau to extend the census processing time previously reduced by four months, a move the plaintiffs say would have made it impossible to count each person.

“Angelenos have so much riding on accurate census results, from political representation to our fair share of crucial federal funding. We fought because the Trump administration's attempts to rush the census would have undercounted our residents and hurt our city for at least a decade,'' Feuer said. “This resolution, achieved with extraordinary partners, will help ensure genuine transparency and fuller, fairer, more reliable results.''

The lawsuit, titled National Urban League v. Ross, was filed last August in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The coalition alleged that the Trump administration tried to cut the census' data collection and processing time short to announce incomplete and inaccurate results in violation of the federal Administrative Procedure Act and the U.S. Constitution. The coalition said the inaccurate results would have affected the reapportion of the U.S. House of Representatives, the allocation of funding to education, food, health care and other needs and the redrawing of congressional, state and local electoral districts.

Under the terms stipulated in the resolution, the Census Bureau:

-- will keep processing the population numbers for congressional apportionment and will release the numbers no earlier than April 26;

-- will count every person regardless of citizenship status;

-- acknowledges that citizenship data it was preparing for former President Donald Trump is statistically unfit in apportionment and redistricting; and

-- will keep assessing the enumeration data obtained during the partially truncated field collection period under the Trump administration and will provide information to the general public on its reviews of the quality of data for the next year.

The coalition of civil rights groups, civic organizations, tribal and local governments filed the lawsuit to ensure the 2020 Census count was not reduced. Under a directive by the former Trump administration, the Census Bureau attempted to reduce the time to collect data and process results from 8 1/2 months to 4 1/2 months.

The court ruled that the Census Bureau could not stop counting on Sept. 30, 2020, and had to continue through Oct. 15, 2020, according to Feuer's office, which said the extension accounted for millions more people being counted.

“This filing is an important milestone that underscores a fundamental truth: every single resident counts, regardless of immigration status,'' said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda L. Solis. “On behalf of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the people we serve, I applaud this action to unwind some of the unconscionable tactics used during the 2020 Census to attempt to undermine the basic rights of our residents.

“By ensuring that every resident is accounted for we can continue to advocate for and expand essential public services,'' Solis said.

The other plaintiffs included the National Urban League; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; Black Alliance for Just Immigration; League of Women Voters; the Navajo Nation; Gila River Indian Community; Harris County, Texas; Commissioners Rodney Ellis and Adrian Garcia of the Harris County Commissioners Court; King County, Washington; Chicago; and the California cities of San Jose and Salinas.

Photo: Getty Images

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.

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