AS CENSUS BUREAU HANDS DATA TO MEXICAN GOVERNMENT, MEMBERS OF CONGRESS ASK EVANS TO STOP

Sep 20, 2004
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC - The Department of Commerce, responding to a request from the Department of Homeland Security, entered into an agreement to provide the Mexican government access to U.S. Census Bureau data on the value of exports. Leading Democrats on the House Government Reform Committee are urging Commerce Secretary Don Evans, who authorized the data sharing, to halt the practice (PDF).

Rep. Henry A. Waxman (CA-30), ranking member on the committee, Rep.Wm. Lacy Clay (MO-01), ranking member of the subcommittee with jurisdiction over the Census, and Rep.Carolyn Maloney (NY-14), former ranking member of the Census Subcommittee, wrote to Secretary Evans that sharing census data will discourage Americans from participating in future surveys. They also cited the recent revelation that the Census Bureau gave the Department of Homeland Security data on Arabs living in the United States as another action that will lower the number of minorities who cooperate with the Bureau.

“This agreement could impede the Census Bureau’s ability to do its job,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14). “If they want to lose the public’s trust in and cooperation with the Census Bureau, this would be a quick way to do it. The Census Bureau should be an agency focused on statistics, not law enforcement - particularly foreign law enforcement.”

According to the Census Bureau, the Mexican government would use the data to make sure that companies importing goods into Mexico pay the appropriate value added tax to Mexico’s government. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requested that Secretary Evans share the data so that it could receive information on airline passengers traveling to Mexico. It was recently revealed that the Census Bureau also provided DHS with information on towns with more than 1,000 persons of Arab ancestry.

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