Biden Administration Executive Actions: Census

Among the executive orders President Biden signed on his first day in office was an affirmation that Census population counts would reflect the total number of residents in each state‚ÄĒregardless of their immigration or citizenship status. It has been the government‚Äôs longstanding practice for Census figures to be based on the ‚Äúwhole number of persons in each state‚ÄĚ (as described in the 14th Amendment). However, former President Trump had attempted to change this policy via executive actions to use administrative records to produce citizenship data and to exclude undocumented immigrants from apportionment counts produced by the 2020 Census. President Biden‚Äôs…

Dillingham Leaves Census Bureau After Whistleblower Complaints About Noncitizen Data Release

Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham announced his departure, effective January 20, eleven months before the end of his term. The announcement comes after whistleblower complaints came to light that Dillingham and senior political appointees were pressuring Census Bureau employees to rush the publication of a potentially ‚Äústatistically indefensible‚ÄĚ data report on noncitizens. Dillingham‚Äôs public announcement of his resignation included a response to questions posed by the Department of Commerce Inspector General‚Äôs Office regarding the noncitizens report. Dillingham‚Äôs announcement also notes that he has respect for President-elect Biden and had prepared, after requests from the Biden transition team, to stay on…

COSSA Asks OMB to Remove Census Citizenship Question

In response to a Federal Register request, COSSA submitted a comment to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requesting that, should a Census citizenship question be reinstated by the Supreme Court, as has been proposed by the Trump Administration, OMB remove it from the 2020 Census on the grounds that it violates the Paperwork Reduction Act. COSSA argues that including the question ‚Äúis of minimal practical utility or public benefit, will increase the burden on respondents, and will harm the integrity and accuracy of information collected for statistical purposes.‚ÄĚ The full comment is available on the COSSA…

Supreme Court to Decide Fate of Census Citizenship Question

The Supreme Court has announced that it will consider whether the Secretary of Commerce was within his rights to add a question on citizenship to the 2020 Census, after a judge in a lower court struck down the question in January. The Court agreed to hear arguments in the case in April and render a decision by the end of June to give the Administration enough time to make final preparations for the Census to be conducted next year. As COSSA has reported, the decision to add the citizenship question without conducting research to ensure the quality of Census data…

Senate Panel Considers Dillingham Nomination for Census Director

On October 3, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held a confirmation hearing to consider the Trump Administration‚Äôs nomination of Steven Dillingham for Director of the Census Bureau (see COSSA‚Äôs previous coverage). The Bureau has been without a permanent director since June 2017 and is in the middle of a significant ramp-up as it prepares to conduct the 2020 Census. Dillingham‚Äôs nomination is relatively uncontroversial, particularly when compared to the more overtly political candidates the Administration is reported to have considered. In his opening statement, Committee Chair Ron Johnson (R-WI) called Dillingham ‚Äúwell-qualified,‚ÄĚ and Ranking Member Claire…

COSSA and 25 Science Organizations Call for Removal of Census Citizenship Question

In a joint comment to the Department of Commerce, COSSA and 25 other science and research organizations urged the Department to remove the citizenship question from the 2020 Census. The letter, which was submitted in response to a federal request for input on data collection activities related to the 2020 Census, focuses on the science and research implications of the citizenship question, arguing that ‚Äúthe inclusion of a question on citizenship in the 2020 Census will increase the burden on respondents, add unnecessary costs to the operation, and negatively impact the accuracy and integrity of one of the most valuable…

Census Issues Request for Comment on Decennial Data Collection

In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Census Bureau issued a request for comments on the 2020 Census on June 8. The request provides an opportunity for feedback on the Bureau’s proposed information collection activities associated with the 2020 Census, including the addition of a citizenship question (which COSSA opposes). Comments must be submitted by August 7, 2018. More information is available in the Federal Register notice.

2020 Census to Ask About Citizenship; COSSA Releases Statement and Action Alert

On March 26, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross directed the Census Bureau to include a question about respondents‚Äô citizenship in the 2020 Decennial Census. The decision was made in response to a request by the Department of Justice to add the question in order to support its enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, although it is unclear why current data is inadequate. Citizenship was last asked as part of the decennial census in 1950; since then it has been included on the census ‚Äúlong form,‚ÄĚ which later became the American Community Survey (these differ from the decennial census in that…

NCA to Hold Discussion on Citizenship in America

The National Communication Association (NCA), one of COSSA‚Äôs governing members, will host a Washington, DC event on March 22, addressing the question ‚ÄúWhat does it mean to be a citizen in contemporary America?‚ÄĚ The discussion will feature input from scholars whose work touches on the meaning and power of American ‚Äúcitizenship,‚ÄĚ including Elisabeth R. Anker (George Washington University), Robert Asen (University of Wisconsin), Elizaeth Markovits (Mount Holyoke College), and Eric King Watts (University of North Carolina). More information is available on NCA‚Äôs website. Back to this issue‚Äôs table of contents.


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