Citizenship data won’t be released with census results, Bureau says : NPR
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The US Census Bureau has stopped working on a project launched by the Trump administration to produce citizenship data that could have politically benefited Republicans during the redrawing of electoral districts.
Citing President Biden’s executive order that revoked President Donald Trump’s directive asking federal agencies to share their citizenship records, the office updated its website Friday with a statement that its work on anonymized data on the US citizenship status of every adult living in the country has been “suspended indefinitely.”
This change means states likely won’t have access to the citizenship data needed to carry out a radically different way of remaking the political maps that determine which areas lawmakers represent. A GOP strategist had concluded that using block-level voting-age population, or CVAP, data for redistricting “would benefit Republicans and non-Hispanic whites.”
“The Census Bureau will review with the Department of Justice polling division whether the current format and granularity of CVAP tabulation based on the American Community Survey continues to meet their statistical requirements,” one of the new statements said. on the office website.
In a statement on Thursday, the bureau said the 2020 census data products “will not include information on citizenship or immigration status.”
The office’s announcement comes shortly after Biden’s executive order also reversed Trump’s unprecedented policy of changing a key 2020 census count by excluding unauthorized immigrants. Biden’s directive calls for all U.S. residents, regardless of immigration status, to be counted in state population figures which the Constitution says must include the “total number of persons in each state.” .
Wilbur Ross, Trump’s Commerce Secretary who oversaw the bureau, originally requested block-level citizenship data in 2018 when he attempted to add a citizenship question to last year’s census forms.
The Trump administration has argued that the Justice Department needs more detailed citizenship data than the estimates from the American Community Survey — which replaced the detailed census — that the DOJ has relied on for years to protect the voting rights of racial and linguistic minorities. After the Supreme Court concluded that the rationale appeared “artificial” and blocked the addition of a citizenship question, Ross ran the office in July 2019 use government records instead of producing the data for use by states when redrawing electoral districts.
Months later, however, the bureau revealed that no state redistricting official had requested that this citizenship information be included in the redistricting data.
These 2020 census demographics are legally due to states by March 31. But the coronavirus pandemic and last-minute schedule changes by Trump officials delayed the office’s schedule to perform quality checks on last year’s census results.
The redistricting data is not expected until months after the bureau finishes collating the state’s latest population counts, which are set to be released in early March. A Senate bill is expected to be reintroduced soon that would extend the legal deadline for data slicing to the end of July.
The Trump administration’s citizenship data project is facing an ongoing federal lawsuit led by lawyers from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC.
Speaking to NPR shortly after the release of Biden’s executive order, Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel for MALDEF, said the legal challenge — which alleges the data project was intended to discriminate against Latinos and non- citizens – could end soon.
“There are still many months to go before the redistricting data is released, so I think we’ll have the opportunity to figure out where we stand and resolve the matter,” Saenz said Wednesday. “What President Biden has done is a strong indication that we will be able to resolve this matter in a constitutionally compliant manner.”
Asked if the Justice Department thinks using block-level citizenship data would be more appropriate than estimates for redistricting, DOJ spokeswoman Kristina Mastropasqua wrote in a statement. email Thursday: “No comment”.