An actual enumeration of all persons

1/3 of the country has still not responded to the Census

Census 2020 buttonThe guy in the White House wants to make an “unconstitutional move seeking to block undocumented immigrants from being counted in the census.”

An article in the Los Angeles Times notes this. “The Constitution mandates an ‘actual Enumeration’ every 10 years of ‘all persons’ in the country, but the president has repeatedly tried to limit who is counted.”

As you know, the census count helps in determining where taxpayer money is spent on building public facilities such as schools, hospitals, and fire departments. And, of course, it’s used in calculating states’ apportionment in the U.S. House of Representatives. But it determines other legislative districts as well.

I don’t know how he does this. And by that, I don’t just mean he’s being reprehensible. I’m saying I don’t know where he would get the data. Back in 2018, the regime attempted to include a question about citizenship on the census form. It was “a move that was ultimately rejected by the Supreme Court in 2019.”

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote that “Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had failed to honestly explain why he sought to change the census forms. Roberts called the stated reason — a need to have information to enforce the Voting Rights Act — ‘contrived.'”

How does one determine how many undocumented people there are, and in specific geographies? The directive would “adopt a practice never before used in U.S. history, faces several major hurdles — legal, logistical and political.

“If successfully carried out, it could have far-reaching effects by reducing the political clout of states with significant numbers of immigrants, including California and Texas. It could also shift power toward whiter, more rural areas of states at the expense of more diverse cities.”

Counted but then subtracted?

According to the IMPOTUS memo: “Census workers would continue counting immigrants who are in the country illegally, but they would not be factored into decisions about the congressional representation. The Census Bureau would have five months to come up with a way to accurately estimate the number of residents illegally in each state in order to subtract them from the overall count.

Michael McDonald, a political science professor at the University of Florida, has his doubts. It’s unlikely the Commerce Department, which oversees the Census Bureau, could meet the timeline. It’s difficult to quickly develop a methodology for estimating the number of immigrants without legal status in various areas of the country. “There are just so many moving parts here.”

Totally true, based on what I know about Census processes. Plus Title 13 of the US Code says that the data can only be used for statistical purposes. I can’t imagine how the Bureau is supposed to discern who’s “legal” and who is not at such a granular level.

Advocacy groups remain concerned that the publicity around Trump’s push for a citizenship question already has made millions of immigrants or mixed-status families reluctant to respond to the census.

Kelsey Herbert, National Campaigns Director for Faith in Public Life sounded the alarm. “The intention of this executive order is merely to suppress census participation, especially in hard-to-count communities.”

It’s not too late to answer by computer, mail, or phone

The U.S. Census Bureau sent reminder postcards last week to an estimated 34.3 million households. That was “the final mailing before census takers begin visiting nonresponding households across the nation in mid-August. Responding now minimizes the need for census takers to visit homes to collect responses in person.”

And you don’t want them to do that.

The Census Bureau uses an online map that tracks the nation’s participation in the census. More than 92 million households (or 62.3 percent of households) have already responded online, by phone, or by mail.” That number for New York State is 57.9%

“The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the nationwide start of census taker visits from mid-May to mid-August. Sending a postcard is one reminder in a series of reminders that the Census Bureau has mailed nonresponding households since mid-March urging them to respond.

“The Census Bureau strongly encourages the public to respond online at Households can respond online or by phone in English or 12 other languages. Or households can also respond by mail using the paper questionnaire that was mailed in April to most nonresponding addresses. Households can continue to respond on their own until these visits conclude on October 31.”