Republicans Seek to Force a Census Undercount
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Republicans Seek to Force a Census Undercount

Efforts Underway to Intimidate Illegal Immigrants and Discourage Non-Citizens from Participating

Trump and the Republicans have sabotaged how ready our country is for the 2020 U.S. Census. They want to intimidate undocumented immigrants and other people who aren’t citizens from participating in the once-a-decade count that is used to assign seats in the House of Representatives and to determine who gets more than $675 billion in federal funds each year.

Trump’s Justice Department has proposed asking about citizenship on the census, a question that hasn’t been asked on the census in seven decades. Democrats fear this will lead to immigrants who are afraid of deportation not being counted and Democratic states like California losing representatives.

“It’s pretty obvious to me that the Trump administration intends to politicize this process,” said Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin. “Everything I see here suggests to me that they don’t really want a good count in states like ours.”

Recent field tests found people are more afraid of Census questioners, thus giving false names and birth dates.

ACTION BOX/What You Can Do About It

The Census Taker, by Norman Rockwell (1940)

Call Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross at 202-482-2000 to tell him we want a census that counts everyone or write him at U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20230.

“If millions of non-citizens refuse to participate in the U.S. Census, the Democrats will take [a] massive political beating,” said Tony Quinn, a political analyst.

The Government Accountability Office has raised questions about readiness for the census in a series of reports and has labeled it “high-risk.”

Trump has not nominated a director for the Census Bureau to replace John Thompson who resigned in June. The acting director, Ron Jarmin, removed Lisa Blumerman, who had been overseeing preparations for the census since 2014.

In February, Thomas Brunell, a political science professor who has repeatedly testified to support Republican efforts to redraw congressional districts, withdrew his name from consideration from the top operational post at the Census Bureau after widespread criticism.

“The change in administration and the lack of a census director could have a profound impact on how well the 2020 Census is conducted, and therefore the counts that are available for apportionment,” said Kimball Brace, president of Election Data Services.

Alabama, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island and West Virginia are each at risk of losing at least one seat in the U.S. House of Representatives because of population changes.

Jarmin was chewed out in February by the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform for not answering questions about preparations for the census.

“The Bureau’s failure to respond to the Committee’s request is unacceptable,” wrote Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the chairman, and other committee members.

In 2014, Congress told the Census Bureau to count everyone in our country in 2020 without spending more than the $12.5 billion the bureau spent in 2010 and not factoring in a decade’s worth of inflation. Much of the cost-saving plan to do this and the computer system for it, has not been tested before.

March 6, 2018