Census Bureau says Trump's push to exclude undocumented is dead
Outgoing President Donald Trump’s plan to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census totals used to apportion congressional seats is officially dead.
The Census Bureau announced Saturday that data on apportionment — and a related calculation of the number of undocumented immigrants Trump has specifically requested — would not be released until after President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in. Biden has said he opposed Trump’s efforts to exclude undocumented immigrants, who have historically been included.
“Neither the Census Bureau nor the Department of Commerce will report or publicly disclose any population counts or estimates relating to the population as of April 1, 2020, including counts or estimates of the illegal alien/undocumented immigrant population, prior to the change of Administration on January 20, 2021,” the Census Bureau said in a statement.
The agreement arose from a suit from the National Urban League, and other plaintiffs opposed to the plan, over the accuracy of the census.
The announcement also said a similar prohibition applies to data related directly to Trump’s controversial memorandum. The agreement pauses the case for 21 days, and if data is available before the end of the stay, the government would need to give plaintiffs 7 days’ notice.
Earlier in the week, Department of Justice attorneys told the court that it is unlikely that apportionment data would be released until early March. In the order, which was filed late on Friday, the government stated that the apportionment data “will not be in position to finalize or provide apportionment data until many weeks after January 20.”
The statutory deadline for the release of apportionment data was Dec. 31, 2020. However, the pandemic scrambled the bureau’s schedule, even as the Trump administration tried to rush the collection and processing of data to release it before the end of his term.
The announcement comes at a tumultuous time for the Census Bureau. Several key Democratic lawmakers told POLITICO this week that bureau director Steven Dillingham, who was appointed to lead the agency by Trump in early 2019 and confirmed by a voice vote in the Senate, should resign, or be removed from his post once Biden takes office.
The calls for Dillingham’s removal follows the Commerce Department’s Office of Inspector General releasing a memo earlier this week, which alleged that Dillingham was pressuring career staff to rush a technical report on data on undocumented people in the United States. Dillingham said in response to the OIG memo that he told career staff to stand down.
“I call on Dr. Dillingham to immediately resign from his position as Director of the Census Bureau because I no longer have faith that he can lead the Bureau to produce a fair, accurate, and complete 2020 Census count as required by the Constitution,” Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who chairs the House Oversight Committee, said in a statement following POLITICO’s reporting.