Statisticians at the U.S. Census Bureau are under great pressure from Trump’s politically appointed people to find out who are in the United States in the country illegally, and they worry that any such report they release in the final days of the Trump administration will be inaccurate, according to the office monitoring agency. .
Two of Trump’s most senior appointees in the Census Bureau, Nathaniel Coogley and Benjamin Overholt, are the driving force behind the effort, according to an inspector general’s office memo published Tuesday. Coogley and Overholt’s appointments last year were heavily criticized by statisticians, academics and Democratic lawmakers, who were concerned that they would politicize the census every decade.
Census Bureau Director Stephen Dillingham on Friday set a deadline for the office statisticians to provide them with a technical report on the effort, the whistleblower told the SIGIR.
Inspector General Peggy Gustafson said in the memo to Dillingham, “The office officials are concerned that incomplete data could be misinterpreted, misused or tarnished the reputation of the office.”
Gustafson’s memo asked Dillingham to answer what he intended to use the information for and why he had made it a top priority. The Census Bureau did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
Two years ago, President Donald Trump ordered the Census Bureau to use administrative records to find out who is in the country illegally after the Supreme Court blocked his administration’s efforts to place a question about citizenship in the 2020 Census questionnaire. The statistics agency has not publicly mentioned which method it uses to do so.
Information about the citizenship status of each U.S. resident could be used to implement another Trump order that seeks to illegally exclude people in the country from the count used to divide congressional seats and Electoral College votes, as well as the annual distribution of $ 1.5 trillion in the federation. Interstate spending.
An influential Republican adviser has called for them to be excluded from the distribution in favor of Republicans and non-Hispanic whites. Trump’s unprecedented distribution order has been appealed in more than six lawsuits across the United States, but the Supreme Court ruled last month that any appeal is premature.
The ability to implement Trump’s handover order is in jeopardy because data processing is not scheduled to take place until early March, several weeks after Trump left office and President-elect Joe Biden was sworn in on January 20. Biden said he opposes him. Effort.
In a tweet, US Senator Gene Shaheen said Trump had undertaken a mission to manipulate the 2020 Census.
Its politicization of the 2020 Census has been dangerous and devastating to our democratic institution. It ends in 8 days. I will work with Biden’s supervisor to see these policies reversed and repair the damage Trump has done, “Shaheen, a Democrat from New Hampshire, tweeted on Tuesday.
Whistleblowers told OIG that the Census Bureau had not established rules for classifying citizenship status for residents of the United States. They said that statisticians in the office do not fully understand the data because the parts came from outside the office and they are concerned that incomplete data may be misinterpreted.
The inspector general’s memo said: “One of the senior staff of the office went so far as to say that this act is statistically untenable.”
Robert Santos, president of the American Statistics Association, on Wednesday praised whistleblowers for bringing their concerns.
“If such data is to be generated, it must be of the highest quality,” Santos said. Forcing the Census Bureau to generate false data in order to set an arbitrary deadline would run counter to the office’s commitment to scientific integrity and would result in immeasurable damage to its reputation as a process. World-class statistics. “
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