The Trump administration will stop at nothing in their goal to politicize every single American institution. Even our education system is being molded into a for-profit business model by Trump appointee Betsy DeVos.
The EPA is dismantling the federal statutes that protected our environment.
ready for this one? california leads suit against trump administration (again) for not following an obama epa regulation. Ready -> the reason is not following a federal law. hypocrisy at it's best
— jaio xu (@xu_jaio) March 27, 2018
DeVos and the Department of Education are siding with for-profit universities and loan servicers https://t.co/ofDIsIm3dm
— American Prospect (@theprospect) March 27, 2018
The nation of poor and huddled masses has been led on a xenophobic binge culminating in massive anti-immigrant sentiment. Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) abysmal leadership of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is another obvious example of partisanship taking priority over the operation independent government branches.
The federal census, which used to be just a boring event every decade, is now being thrown into the politicized fire as well. Under direction from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross is reinstating a long-deleted question from the census: Are you a citizen of the United States?
This might seem innocuous. Just answer yes or no, and move on, right? To understand the gravity of this question, we need only to look back into our nation’s shameful history.
When the U.S. was bombed at Pearl Harbor, the country rallied around a cry for war. Soon, with the passage of the First War Powers Act, executive power was dramatically increased. In 1942, the Second War Powers Act was passed by Congress. Slipped into this law was a suspension of the confidentiality of census data.
In effect, the census data collected in 1940 was handed over to the FBI. This data was used to round up Americans of Japanese ancestry for imprisonment in various internment camps.
There is also some precedent for concern. The Census Bureau prepared reports that helped send American citizens of Japanese heritage to internment camps in WWII: https://t.co/h4HNV2LNie
— Stephen Holzman (@StephenHolz) March 27, 2018
Another opportunity to remind you that the proper answer to the census is the number of people living there. Nothing more. Census data has already helped put American citizens in concentration camps once. https://t.co/OKj6rZPknq https://t.co/a19h80zvBk
— Tom Swiss, royal jester to the court of Norton I (@tom_swiss) March 27, 2018
The fact that the census data could feasibly be used to locate American residents of any ethnicity means that whichever country future Secretary of State John Bolton pulls into a war with the U.S. can be easily identified by the federal government.
Enforcers from ICE are becoming more brazen and focused on removing even immigrants that served in the U.S. military, so it stands to reason that fears of deportation aren’t unfounded. How likely would an American citizen be to answer the census at all if they thought that doing so would jeopardize an undocumented immigrant in their home or jeopardize their and their children’s safety as undocumented immigrants?
Of course, there’s even more to this story. Here’s a quick explainer from The West Wing:
The census results will determine representation in Congress. The fewer minorities who are likely Democratic voters that are counted, the less representation Democrats are likely to receive. Although undocumented immigrants cannot vote, their documented housemates can and may be underrepresented in Congress if they refuse to answer census questions.
The San Francisco Chronicle adds some perspective:
‘The Constitution requires the government to conduct an “actual enumeration” of the total population, regardless of citizenship status. And since 1790, the census has counted citizens and noncitizens alike.’
As California is a state with a growing immigrant community, the impacts of this question would be huge:
‘An undercount would threaten at least one of California’s seats in the House of Representatives (and, by extension, an elector in the electoral college.) It would deprive California and its cities and counties of their fair share of billions of dollars in federal funds.’
It’s just been announced that California is fighting back, according to CBS Sacramento:
‘California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the state will sue the Trump Administration over its decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
‘“We’re prepared to do what we must to protect California from a deficient Census,” he said. “Including a citizenship question on the 2020 census is not just a bad idea – it is illegal.”’
Featured image: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty