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Citizenship question on 2020 census could affect funding for Yakima

Citizenship question on 2020 census could affect funding for Yakima.

YAKIMA, Wash.- The 2010 census said Yakima’s population was 91,067.

Of course, the city has grown over the last eight years and the census bureau estimates there's about 94,000 people as of 2016.

The 2020 census is coming up and city leaders said Yakima’s population is more than just a number.

“The numbers that are generated from a census count help determine state grants and federal grants that are distributed to local governments. So, an accurate count it really important to us,” communications director Randy Beehler said.

President Donald Trump's administration said they're going to add the question of citizenship to the next census.

Yakima County Republican Committee Chairman Benine McDonnell supports the decision and said it's needed to properly enforce the voting rights act.

“It's important to know who is a citizen because those people are the ones who have the right to be able to vote,” she said.

However, there are some who think the opposite.

“It's actually a horrible idea and it's going to impact communities across our country. Especially here in the Yakima Valley, negatively,” Gabriel Munoz said.

Munoz with the Latino Civic Alliance said the questions would discourage many people in Yakima from participating in the census.

He said undocumented people in the valley would be afraid of being arrested or deported because of the question.

Which could lead to an under-count.

That means the number on the census is incorrect and lower than the actual population of the city.

Beehler said that could affect how much money the city gets and long-term plans going forward.

“They wouldn't be accurate. So, it really hamstrings our ability to plan into the future how we are going to distribute those services throughout the city,” he said.

It may seem like a small addition to the census, but it could be huge for cities that may not get the amount of funds needed for their population.

The question of citizenship wasn't included in the 2010 census, but has been on them before.

New York’s attorney general said it's unconstitutional and is leading a multi-state lawsuit to take the question off.

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