Update: President issues executive order to determine citizenship status of population, drops effort to add question to census - AZEdNews
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Update: President issues executive order to determine citizenship status of population, drops effort to add question to census


Panorama Of The West Facade Of United States Supreme Court Building At Dusk In Washington, D.C., USA.. Photo Courtesy Of Joe Ravi CC-BY-SA 3.0

Updated July 17, 2019: The House of Representatives voted 230 to 298 on Wednesday to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt of Congress for not complying with subpoenas related to adding a citizenship question to the census, but the U.S. Justice Department will most likely not prosecute, according to a Reuters article.

Updated July 11, 2019: President Donald Trump said today during a press conference at the White House that he will drop efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, but issued an executive order to have federal agencies turn over records to determine the citizenship status of all people living in the United States.

Listen below to an AZEdNews recording of President Trump and Attorney General Barr speaking at the press conference.

During the press conference, President Trump said “We are not backing down on our efforts to determine the citizenship status of the United States’ population.”

President Trump said to get a clearer picture of the U.S. citizens and non-citizens that make up the U.S. population that “today I will be issuing an executive order to put this very plan into effect immediately.”

“I’m hereby ordering every department and agency in the federal government to provide the Department of Commerce with all requested records regarding the number of citizens and non-citizens in our country,” President Trump said. “They must furnish all legally accessible records in their possession immediately.”

“We will utilize these vast federal databases to gain a full, complete an accurate account of the non-citizen population, including databases maintained by the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration,” President Trump said. “We have great knowledge in many of our agencies. We will leave no stone unturned.”

“The Census Bureau projected that using previously available records it could determine citizenship for 90 percent of our population or more,” President Trump said. “With today’s executive order that eliminates long-standing obstacles to data sharing, we’re aiming to count everyone. Ultimately, this will allow us to have an even more complete count of citizens than through asking the single question alone.”

Yesterday, a second federal judge – U.S. District Court Judge George Hazel in Maryland – denied a U.S. Department of Justice request to change lawyers handling census cases just one day after U.S. District Court Judge Jesse Furman in New York had denied a similar motion, according to a Reuters article.

On June 27, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision upheld a federal judge’s earlier ruling preventing a citizenship question from being included for now in the 2020 Census, noting that President Donald Trump’s administration did not give an adequate explanation for its plan for including it.

At the press conference today, Attorney General William Barr said there was “simply no way to litigate these issues and obtain relief from the current injunctions in time to implement any new decision without jeopardizing our ability to carry out the census.”

In response to President Trump’s announcement on Thursday, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund released a statement from CEO Arturo Vargas.

“While the citizenship question appears to now be halted for good, we know this contentious effort to undermine the progress of the Latino community and suppress the count of Latinos has left an indelible mark on Census 2020,” Vargas said in the statement.

Vargas also said NALEO will closely examine President Trump’s executive order to determine “whether this course of action would deviate from existing practices in a way that would negatively impact the Latino community.”  

NALEO will also “assess whether the data will be utilized in ways that violate the Voting Rights Act, affect the ability of Latinos to elect the candidates of their choice, or influence the redistricting process in a manner that would be detrimental to the Latino electorate and other protected voters,” Vargas said.

Meanwhile, the Maricopa Association of Governments noted on their @iCount2020 Twitter account that they’re focusing on ensuring that people’s 2020 Census information is safe and protected.

2:10 p.m. July 11, 2019

President Donald Trump will hold a brief press conference at the White House to discuss his administration’s efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census today after 2 p.m. Mountain Standard Time in Arizona.

Watch it Live at: https://fronterasdesk.org/content/1055576/watch-live-trump-speaks-census-and-citizenship-question

Update July 9, 2019: A federal judge in New York denied on Tuesday the U.S. Department of Justice’s request to change the legal team of attorneys that have handled 2020 Census cases filed on Monday morning, according to a Reuters article.

On Sunday night, the Justice Department said a new legal team would take over the Trump administration’s efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

Article 1, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution requires that every person living within the United States be counted every 10 years for the purposes of electing members of the House of Representatives and apportioning taxes.

A census aims to count the entire population of a country at the location where each person usually lives, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

In 1954, Congress put all earlier census acts and all other statutes authorizing the decennial census into Title 13, U.S. Code. While it does not specify which subjects or questions are included in the census, it does require the U.S. Census Bureau to notify Congress of general census subjects to be addressed three years before the decennial census and the actual questions to be asked two years before the decennial census, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

U.S. District Court Judge Jesse Furman said in a court order released on Tuesday that the request to change lawyers handling the case is “patently deficient” and provides no “satisfactory reasons,” according to a Reuters article.

Judge Furman cited upcoming deadlines as a factor in his decision in his court order, according to a CNN article.

“Defendants provide not reasons, let alone ‘satisfactory reasons,’ for the substitution of counsel,” Furman wrote in his court order.

“And as to the second factor, Defendants’ mere ‘expectation that withdrawal of current counsel will not cause any disruption’ is not good enough, particularly given the circumstances of this case: Defendants’ opposition to Plaintiffs’ most recent motion is due in just three days; Defendants’ opposition to Plaintiffs’ anticipated motion for sanctions is due later this month; and in the event that Defendants seek to add the citizenship question to the 2020 census questionnaire based upon a ‘new rationale’ time would plainly be of the essence in any further litigation relating to this decision,” Furman wrote in his court order.

The U.S. Dept. of Justice still has a request before a federal judge in Maryland that would leave not a single Justice Department attorney who had been working on the cases since 2018, according to a National Public Radio story.

Updated July 8, 2019: The Justice Department announced Sunday night that a new legal team will take over the Trump administration’s efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, noting that a new team of civil division attorneys will be in charge in a filing on Monday, according to a CNN article.

The Trump administration has been curtailed in its efforts to include a citizenship question on the census, by a Supreme Court ruling in late June and earlier decisions in federal district courts.

President Donald Trump said he may use an executive order to get the question on the form, but the census questionnaires are already being printed without the question, according to an Associated Press article.

The Trump administration has few options to get a citizenship question on the census, but the heightened focus on the issue could still lead to an undercount of minorities, people who do not trust the government and those who live in areas that typically vote Democratic, legal and political experts said in a Reuters article.

#iCount2020, a regional campaign by the Maricopa Association of Governments that includes 27 cities & towns, three Native American nations, has been getting the word out on efforts to reach out to historically undercounted groups and communities to ensure an accurate Census 2020 population count.

#iCount2020 also has let people know why responding to the census is so important.

The census is particularly important for determining federal funding for many education programs and education advocates are concerned that the citizenship question would make some families think twice about filling out the forms, according to an Education Week article.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Census Bureau is encouraging teachers to use their Statistics in Schools resources including real-life data and more than 200 standards-aligned classroom learning activities to help students become more adept at working with data and statistics.

The resources include state and national level data students can analyze, information about voting trends, how U.S. Census Bureau data helps emergency responders during natural disasters, as well as how census data is used to look at poverty, modern families’ structure and living arrangements, how the millennial generation is different from other generations, and immigration and migration.

U.S. Census Bureau: Statistics in Schools: Preparing students for a data driven world

Updated July 3, 2019: After President Donald Trump made a tweet Wednesday morning, U.S. Justice Department lawyers told a federal judge in Maryland they were instructed to add the citizenship question to the 2020 census in a way that’s consistent with a Supreme Court ruling, according to a CNN article.

This came a day after the U.S. Department of Justice said 2020 Census forms would be printed without the citizenship question and after the process of printing the forms began.

The U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision on Thursday, June 27, 2019 upheld a federal judge’s earlier ruling preventing a citizenship question from being included for now in the 2020 Census, noting that President Donald Trump’s administration did not give an adequate explanation for its plan for including it.

Bloomberg News reporter Bob Van Voris, who covers Manhattan federal court, provided helpful details in his Twitter feed and a story in the late afternoon of July 3, when many people had already left work to go home to prepare for Independence Day holiday celebrations on Thursday.

“There may be a legally available path,” Assistant Attorney General Joseph Hunt told U.S. District Judge George Hazel during a conference call with parties to one of three census lawsuits on Wednesday, according to an Associated Press article, which noted that the call was closed to reporters, but a transcript was made available soon after.

An accurate count of people in the U.S. during the 2020 Census is important, because it determines the percentage of federal funding that Arizona schools, municipalities and programs receive and political representation in Congress, said City of Phoenix Census Director Albert Santana .

U.S. District Judge George Hazel gave the U.S. until 2 p.m. Friday to reach a conclusion, according to the Bloomberg News article.

The American Civil Liberties Union also commented on the action.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Census Bureau is trying to reassure people that the information they provide on the census will remain confidential as required by law and not shared with other government agencies.

Updated: July 2, 2019: The U.S. Department of Justice has decided to print the 2020 Census forms without the citizenship question, and the printer was told to start the process, according to a CNN article.

“I respect the Supreme Court but strongly disagree with its ruling regarding my decision to reinstate a citizenship question on the 2020 census,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement in a Reuters article. “The Census Bureau has started the process of printing the decennial questionnaires without the question.”

An Associated Press article said Trump administration attorneys notified parties in lawsuits that printing of the 2020 Census forms would start soon.

Soon after the announcement, Arizona elected officials commented on the decision to print 2020 Census forms without the citizenship question.

But the decision didn’t sit well with some conservative groups.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Census Bureau encourages people, businesses and organizations to partner with them to help get an accurate census count for their communities.

Updated June 27, 2019: The U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision on Thursday upheld a federal judge’s earlier ruling preventing a citizenship question from being included for now in the 2020 Census, noting that President Donald Trump’s administration did not give an adequate explanation for its plan for including it.

The Trump administration said including the citizenship question on the 2020 Census is critical for determining actual voters, but opponents said it will reduce census response rates from immigrants, noncitizens, Latinos and other groups who do not trust how the government will use that information.

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts voted with Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Stephen G. Breyer, writing in the majority opinion that the federal government is required to give a reasoned explanation under the Administrative Procedure Act, but that the Trump administration’s explanation was “more of a distraction,” and “accepting contrived reasons would defeat the purpose of the enterprise.”

Update: President issues executive order to determine citizenship status of population, drops effort to add question to census U.S.-Supreme-Court-Justices-NewGroup-Photo-Cropped-1000
The U.S. Supreme Court: November 30, 2018. November 30, 2018. Seated, from left to right: Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Samuel A. Alito. Standing, from left to right: Justices Neil M. Gorsuch, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Brett M. Kavanaugh. Photograph by Fred Schilling, Supreme Court Curator’s Office.

After the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, people are waiting to see if the Trump administration will continue its push to include the question on the 2020 Census, before the U.S. Census Bureau, which issued a brief statement saying that the decision is “currently being reviewed,” begins printing census forms next week, according to an Associated Press article.

The citizenship question has not on the census that all households have received since 1950, instead it's only been included in the American Community Survey sent to a smaller portion of the population, according to a Reuters article.

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced in a March 2018 memo that he had decided to reinstate the citizenship question on the 2020 Census at the request of the Department of Justice, which sought census block level citizenship data to use in enforcing the Voting Rights Act. Later, Ross said that he'd begun considering including the question in early 2017about a week after he started in his role, and he had asked whether the Department of Justice would formally request its inclusion, according to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

If the citizenship question was included on the 2020 Census, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated about 6.5 million people would not respond, and noted that while only U.S. citizens can vote, non-citizens make up about 7 percent of the U.S. population, according to a Reuters article.

Two separate lawsuits filed in Federal District Court in New York were consolidated. A lawsuit brought forth by a group of states, counties, cities and others claimed that the Commerce Secretary's decision violated the enumeration clause and the Administrative Procedure Act. A different lawsuit brought forth by non-government organizations claimed the decision violated the enumeration clause and the Administrative Procedure Act and added an equal protection claim.

The Federal District Court in New York dismissed the enumeration clause claim; found that the Commerce Secretary's action was arbitrary and capricious, based on a pretextual rationale and violated the Census Act; and held that respondents had failed to show an equal protection violation, but the U.S. Supreme Court decision differed on some points and agreed on others.

"Viewing the evidence as a whole, this Court shares the District Court's conviction that the decision to reinstate a citizenship question cannot adequately be explained in terms of the Department of Justice's request for improved citizenship data to better enforce the Voting Rights Act," U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts writes in the majority decision.

"Several points, taken together reveal a significant mismatch between the Secretary's decision and the rationale he provided," U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts wrote.

  1. While the record shows Commerce Secretary Ross began taking steps to reinstate the citizenship question in the 2020 Census about a week into his tenure, it gives no indication that he was considering Voting Rights Act enforcement.
  2. Commerce Secretary Ross' director of policy tried to elicit requests for citizenship data from the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice's Office of Immigration Review before turning to the Voting Rights Act rationale and the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division.
  3. The Department of Justice's actions suggest it was more interested in helping the Commerce Department than in securing citizenship data.

"Altogether, the evidence tells a story that does not match the Secretary's explanation for his decision," U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts wrote in the majority decision. "Unlike a typical case in which an agency may have both stated and unstated reasons for a decision, here the Voting Rights Act enforcement rational - the sole stated reason - seems to have been contrived."

"The reasoned explanation requirement of administrative law is meant to ensure that agencies offer genuine justifications for important decisions, reasons that can be scrutinized by courts and the interested public. The explanation provided here was more of a distraction," U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts wrote in the majority decision. "In these unusual circumstances, the District Court was warranted in remanding to the agency."

Earlier article published on June 12 follows below

Why people are worried about a census citizenship question

Updated June 19, 2019: Many Arizonans are concerned a Census 2020 citizenship question could make immigrants, noncitizens, Latinos and other minority groups less likely to respond, leading to an undercount.

That means Arizona would receive less than its fair share of more than $675 billion in federal funds each year that impact public schools, families and communities.

Accurate Census data is key for determining political representation as well as allocating federal funding to jurisdictions based on their demographic characteristics, needs and assets, said Lizette Escobedo, director of national census program for NALEO, the National Association of Latino Elected Officials.

Update: President issues executive order to determine citizenship status of population, drops effort to add question to census Lizette-Escobedo-400
Lizette Escobedo, director of national census programs for NALEO, the National Association of Latino Elected Officials. Photo courtesy of NALEO

“Arizona is home to disproportionate shares of populations that are most frequently undercounted, including children, Latinos and Native Americans,” Escobedo said.

  • Arizona is one of the top 10 states in the nation in terms of the proportion of its population that is Native American.
  • Maricopa County had the second highest net undercount of Latino children (27,000) in the nation in 2010.
  • More than 900,000 Latinos live in Hard-to-Count Census tracts in Arizona.

“Although Arizona’s urban population has increased in lockstep with other states, there are still a significant number of Arizonans who reside in underdeveloped rural areas with insufficient infrastructure, including parts of the state’s large Navajo and Hopi reservations,” Escobedo said.

Related articles:
How schools & NALEO encourage census participation
What the timeline for Census 2020 looks like
Census kick-off focuses on funding, schools, political representation

 

 

Census data has ensured that Arizona receives significant shares of federal Rural Electrification and Rural Broadband Access loans to help Arizona communities stay safe, healthy, and connected, Escobedo said.

“Census data helps determine how much local Arizona governments lose in local taxes on federally-owned land and have ensured compensation for those amounts in the form of Payments in Lieu of Taxes from the Department of the Interior,” Escobedo said. “In fiscal year 2016, Arizona received more than $35 million from this program.”

The citizenship question timeline

President Donald Trump requested that a question asking people whether they are a U.S. citizen be added to the 2020 Census. The question was last included in the 1950 Census.

When U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross thought about adding the question, Census Bureau leaders warned that past data indicated that a household with at least one noncitizen would be less likely to respond and follow-up with those households would cost at least $27.5 million, according to a CNN article.

Nearly 200 elected officials from both the Republican and Democratic parties have signed an amicus brief to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to keep the citizenship question off the 2020 Census, and the justices will rule on the issue by the end of June.

No other issue before the Supreme Court will have more direct consequences for the nation’s Latinos than the one before the Court regarding the 2020 Census, Escobedo said.

“On trial is not only the accuracy of a full Latino count, but also the foundation of our democracy. The 2020 Census will be the first in the nation’s history in which Latinos make up the nation’s second largest population group. An undercount of the Latino population would mean a failed Census for the country,” Escobedo said.  

Several lower courts have blocked the plan to ask the citizenship question, with some judges ruling that asking if people are citizens would violate a U.S. Constitution provision requiring a count of the population every 10 years, regardless of citizenship status.

“The evidence in this case is clear.  Three federal courts have already found that the addition of the citizenship question was done in violation of federal law and would result in an undercount of Latinos and immigrants. In a survey conducted by NALEO Educational Fund, 78 percent of Latinos stated that the inclusion of a citizenship question would make people afraid to participate in Census 2020,” Escobedo said.

If the Court finds that the three district judges erred in finding that U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross violated the Administrative Procedures Act, future Cabinet members will be free to make arbitrary decisions at will, Escobedo said.

“By dismissing the citizenship question, the Court can make clear that politics has no home in the hallways of one of the most pre-eminent scientific agencies in the world,” Escobedo said.

This week, the Census Bureau sent out surveys similar to the 2020 Census form to 480,000 households – one version has the citizenship question on it and the other does not – to help decide how to follow up with the 630,000 households it estimates will not fully complete the 2020 Census, according to a CNN article.

Today, President Trump invoked executive privilege to block Congressional representatives from accessing documents about how a citizenship question was added to the 2020 Census, before a House committee voted to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress over the issue, according to The New York Times and The Associated Press articles.

On Wednesday, June 19, a federal trial judge said he believes new evidence presented in a challenge to the 2020 census citizenship question "raises a substantial issue," which could lead to reopening of one of three federal trials into the citizenship question and further investigation into the late Republican redistricting consultant Thomas Hofeller's role in the decision to include the citizenship question, according to a CNN article.

The U.S. Census Bureau has said that if the citizenship question remains, that results will not be reported to President Trump. Census responses may only be used to produce statistics and cannot be shared with immigration, law enforcement or to determine eligibility for government benefits, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Now is the time for the nation’s highest court to give the U.S. Census Bureau the clarity and certainty it needs to execute the 2020 Census by removing the citizenship question once and for all,” Escobedo said.