President-Elect Joe Biden hasn’t even been inaugurated yet, but the effort is already underway to undo the current administration’s work. This week, Census Bureau workers were told to halt activity on counting illegal immigrants in the country, the direct opposite of President Trump’s 2019 executive order.
In a memo from Steven Dillingham, the U.S. Census Bureau’s director to Inspector General for the Department of Commerce Peggy Gustafson, the director said agency workers should “stand down and discontinue their data reviews.” The bureau has been collecting and processing information on citizenship for the 2020 census, including illegal and legal immigrants. However, earlier this week, the bureau’s deputy director, Ron Jarmin, said that there are “problems with the data that would require additional work,” so Dillingham responded that there is no pressure to finish the work – despite the Jan. 15 deadline – and that there was no longer a deadline to submit the report.
Trump’s executive order was in response to the court denying his attempt to have a question on the census questionnaire to determine if someone was in the country illegally. At the time, Attorney General William Barr said during a press conference that “Today’s executive order will finally give us an accurate understanding of how many citizens and non-citizens live in our country.”
On July 21, 2020, Trump signed a memorandum that excludes illegal aliens from being counted and used to apportion congressional seats, and ordered all federal agencies to share information with the Department of Commerce. The administration said:
“Affording congressional representation, and therefore formal political influence, to states on account of the presence within their borders of aliens who have not followed the steps to secure a lawful immigration status under our laws undermines those principles.”
At the time, the president spoke strongly against the left for not wanting to protect the nation’s borders from illegal immigration as well as trying to hide the actual numbers of aliens within the country:
“There used to be a time when you could proudly declare, ‘I am a citizen of the United States.’ But now, the radical left is trying to erase the existence of this concept and conceal the number of illegal aliens in our country.
This is all part of a broader left-wing effort to erode the rights of American citizens, and I will not stand for it.”
The 2020 census report the bureau was supposed to submit was to decide how many congressional seats each state would get depending on their “legal” population. However, now that there is no pressure or deadline to see the job done and with Biden’s promise to scale back efforts to restrict illegal immigration, there may not be a recounting and reassigning of seats for some time to come.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.
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