​​​​​​​Census Bureau Caves to Trump Pressure

Puts 2020 Census Count at Risk
For Immediate Release
Contact
Michelle Boykins 202-296-2300, ext. 0144 mboykins@advancingjustice-aajc.org

Washington, DC — July 31, 2020 Recent reports show that the U.S. Census Bureau is cutting its census door-knocking (non-response follow-up) by one month, which will put at risk an accurate count of hard-to-count communities and compromise the Census Bureau’s ability to provide a complete analysis of the census data.

John C. Yang of Advancing Justice – AAJC issues the following statement in response:

“The Census Bureau is on record stating the need to extend door knocking and self-response follow-up through October 31, 2020. The Census Bureau now seems to be cutting short the non-response follow-up (NRFU) operations in response to Trump’s pressure to destroy the accuracy of the census for partisan gain.

Under a normal administration, this NRFU stage of operations is to count the hardest-to-count populations, including Asian Americans who have been historically undercounted in previous censuses. This new deadline allows Trump to cheat hard-to-count communities of color out of the resources needed for everything from healthcare and education to housing and transportation for the next ten years.

These reports come on the heels of Trump’s July 21, 2020 Presidential Memorandum that blatantly violates the U.S. Constitution and attempts to skew the census data used to divide Congressional representation (apportionment) between the states and Senator McConnell’s proposed relief package that does nothing to really help census operations and aborts the extension plans requested by the Census Bureau to push apportionment data to April 2021.

In a recent July 8, 2020 press conference, Al Fontenot who is the Census Bureau Associate Director for Decennial Census Programs, indicated it was too late for the Census Bureau to finish census operations earlier than October 31, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Bureau could not report initial results by the current statutory deadline of December 31, 2020. This new rushed September deadline goes against the judgment of current and former career staff, including past Census Bureau Director John Thompson, who testified on Wednesday that operations should not be short-changed.

The NRFU operations have already been made more difficult by the COVID-19 pandemic. Cutting a month from its operational plan will sacrifice the needs of every community in this country, regardless of race, ethnicity, or economic status.

The fate of our country’s well-being and resources for the next ten years is in jeopardy if Trump forces the U.S. Census Bureau to provide poor quality data to satisfy his political schemes.”