Evidence Of Trump Census Corruption Revealed By Internal Report

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As reported by NPR, a newly released internal government email reveals that the Trump administration “alarmed career civil servants at the Census Bureau by not only ending the 2020 national head count early, but also pressuring them to alter plans for protecting people’s privacy and producing accurate data.” The Census Bureau’s deputy director, Ron Jarmin, shared in a September 2020 message that political appointees of Trump at the Commerce Department (under which the bureau operates) showed an out-of-the-ordinary level of “engagement in technical matters, which is unprecedented relative to the previous censuses.”

The outcomes of the census are poised to have substantial political ramifications. The numbers are used to decide on the number of U.S. House seats given to each state, and subsequently, the numbers of U.S. House seats held by individual states are used to determine the number of electoral college members possessed by those states. (Each state’s number of electoral college members equals its total of U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators.)

Thus, the numbers could — in theory — be used to deny both representation in the House and a more substantial say in the presidential election process to the president’s political opponents. (Areas documented to have higher populations get more seats.) Trump’s administration (unsuccessfully) tried to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census, which could have ended up negatively impacting immigrant communities in general in such a way.

Besides the impacts on the fairness of representation decisions that could have been seen if undocumented immigrants were excluded from the census, other immigrants could have felt intimidated by the prospect of participating in the census, driving down the representation of their communities even further. Meanwhile, NPR summarizes that the newly released email from Jarmin insists that “the methodologies and procedures for filling in data gaps, reviewing the counts for errors and protecting the confidentiality of people’s information should strictly stay in the lane of civil servants” — but apparently, that wasn’t how Trump officials approached the situation. Trump appointees sought information about a variety of topics — including ways that the bureau could present tabulations of the numbers of undocumented immigrants residing in each state.

Trump’s Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, at one point ordered the Census Bureau to put together block-level reports showing the citizenship status of all adults living throughout the nation — something that could have helped those crafting legislative district lines in denying equal representation to immigrant communities. At another point, Trump himself signed off on a presidential memorandum that demanded information on undocumented immigrants living in the country, which would’ve provided for the exclusion of these individuals from totals used for distributing House seats. Ultimately, The New York Times explains that the “bureau proved unable to produce the noncitizen count before Mr. Trump left office, and noncitizens were counted in the allocation of House seats, just as they had been in every census since 1790.” Read more on the issue at this link.