Things That Matter

There Might Not Be A Citizenship Question On The 2020 Census But DHS Will Give The Census Citizenship Info

After President Donald Trump’s efforts to have a citizenship question on the 2020 census was stopped by the Supreme Court last June, he is now looking to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for help. According to a report from CNN, DHS will be providing citizenship information with the U.S. Census Bureau through administrative records collected in previous years. The share data will be used to make an estimate of the number of citizens and non-citizens in the U.S., including the number of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

The information that is being shared with the Census bureau includes “a person’s alien identification number, country of birth and date of naturalization or naturalization application,” the AP reports. Other data will come from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and Customs and Border Protection that will be linked to other shared demographic data. The DHS-Census agreement reads that the citizen information will be used for no longer than two years and then promptly destroyed. 

There is much significance going into the once-a-decade headcount that will determine how $1.5 trillion in federal spending is allocated across the country, as well as how many congressional seats each state gets. 

While the move to share citizenship data between agencies may raise some eyebrows, the Trump administration is defending the move in regards to voting protections. But that’s not how everyone sees it. 

Andrea Senteno, an attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), one of the civil rights groups challenging President Trump’s order in federal court in Maryland, told the AP that the collected data may be wrong or outdated. “The information out there over whether someone is a non-citizen or what type of immigrant status they may be is going to have a lot of holes in it,” Senteno told the AP

This is a potential issue that DHS acknowledges and said in its agreement document that “linking records between datasets is not likely to be 100% accurate.” There are fears that if this data is compiled to produce statistics, people won’t have the ability to correct mistakes as an individual’s citizenship status can change often over a period of time. 

The data that is being compiled from administrative records is also facing legal challenges. According to CNN, a lawsuit, which the government is asking to be dismissed, is being presented that accuses Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross of being “motivated by a racially discriminatory scheme to reduce Latino political representation and increase the overrepresentation of non-Latino Whites, thereby advantaging White voters at Latino voters’ expense.” 

Despite President Trump not getting his citizen question on the 2020 Census, Latino leaders told Congress on Thursday that there are still worries from communities about it. 

President Trump’s efforts to get a citizenship question on the 2020 Census may have been stopped but the fears and anxiety of it still showing up are well alive in many Latino communities across the U.S. At a hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on Thursday, civil leaders voiced their concerns that census counts may be inaccurate. 

Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, blames that on the “failed debacle” of Trump’s proposed citizenship question. He says that while the question was ultimately blocked, there is still fear in the Latino community that information about their legal status will still show up that may add to inaccurate tallies.

“They believe there will be a citizenship question on the form despite its absence and many fear how the data will be used,” Vargas said at the hearing focused on reaching hard-to-count communities in the 2020 census. “This is exacerbated by a hostile environment toward immigrants propagated by this administration.”

Vargas points to the prior census count in 2010 that he says “undercounted 1.5 percent of the Latino population, including some 400,000 children under 5 years old.” That census count made the determination that the US Latino population was  50.5 million. Today, that number is estimated to be close to 60 million people. 

“The 2020 Census is likely to be the largest and most difficult enumeration ever,” said Vanita Gupta, CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights, told the AP. “There are no do-overs. We need to get it right the first time.”

The march to the 2020 Census will begin in rural and tribal communities in northern Alaska in no less than two weeks. The rest of the US can start participating by mid-March.

READ: A San Francisco Mural Is Honoring An Undocumented Guatemalan Immigrant Who Was Unarmed And Killed By Police

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9-Year-Old Migrant Girl Drowns While Trying to Cross the Rio Grande in the U.S.

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9-Year-Old Migrant Girl Drowns While Trying to Cross the Rio Grande in the U.S.

Photo via Getty Images

On March 20th, U.S. Border Patrol agents found a 9-year-old migrant girl unresponsive along with her mother and sibling on an island in the Rio Grande.

U.S. Border Patrol agents attempted to resuscitate the family. The agents were able to revive the mother and her younger, 3-year-old child. The Border Patrol agents transferred the 9-year-old migrant girl to emergency medics in emergency medics in Eagle Pass, Texas, but she remained unresponsive.

In the end, the 9-year-old migrant girl died–the cause of death being drowning.

The mother of the two children was Guatemalan while the two children were born in Mexico.

The death of the 9-year-old migrant girl is notable because this is the first migrant child death recorded in this current migration surge. And experts worry that it won’t be the last.

And while this is the first child death, it is not the only migrant who has died trying to make it across the border. On Wednesday, a Cuban man drowned while trying to swim across the border between Tijuana and San Diego. He was the second migrant to drown in just a two-week period.

Why is this happening?

According to some reports, the reason so many migrants are heading towards the U.S. right now is “because President Trump is gone”. They believe they have a better chance of claiming asylum in the U.S.

Another factor to take into consideration is that a large number of these migrants are unaccompanied minors. According to migrant services volunteer Ruben Garcia, Title 42 is actually having the opposite effect of its intent. President Trump enacted Title 42 to prevent immigration during COVID-19 for “safety reasons”.

“Families that have been expelled multiple times that are traveling with children,” Garcia told PBS News Hour. “Some of them are making the decision to send their children in by themselves, because they have families someplace in the U.S., and they know their children will be released to them.”

Is there a “border crisis”?

That depends on who you ask. According to some experts, the numbers of migrants heading to the U.S./Mexico border aren’t out-of-the-ordinary considering the time of year and the fact that COVID-19 made traveling last year virtually impossible.

According to Tom Wong of the University of California at San Diego’s U.S. Immigration Policy Center, there is no “border crisis”. “This year looks like the usual seasonal increase, plus migrants who would have come last year but could not,” Wong says.

As the Washington Post explained: “What we’re seeing right now is a predictable seasonal shift. When the numbers drop again in June and July, policymakers may be tempted to claim that their deterrence policies succeeded.”

What is the Biden Administration planning on doing about it?

As of now, it is pretty evident that the Biden Administration has not been handling this migrant surge well, despite ample warning from experts. As of now, President Biden has put Vice President Harris in charge of handling the issues at the border.

As of now, the game plan is still very vague. But in the past, the Biden Administration has stated that they plan to fix the migrant surge at the source. That means providing more aid to Central America in order to prevent further corruption of elected officials.

They also want to put in place a plan that processes children and minors as refugees in their own countries before they travel to the U.S. The government had not tested these plans and they may take years to implement. Here’s to hoping that these changes will prevent a case like the death of the 9-year-old migrant girl.

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Biden Administration’s Handling Of The Border Criticized By Both Sides Of The Aisle

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Biden Administration’s Handling Of The Border Criticized By Both Sides Of The Aisle

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

The Biden administration inherited more than an out of control pandemic when they got to work in January. The former administration also left the Biden administration an orchestrated crisis at the border. For some, President Joe Biden is not acting fast enough to fix the problem.

President Biden announced that Vice President Kamala Harris will lead the response to immigration at the border.

The approach, according to Politico, is going to be a two-pronged approach to effectively curb irregular immigration. First, the vice president will focus on stopping the migration journey by addressing the issues in the countries that people are fleeing. Particularly, Vice President Harris will be focusing on the issues in the Northern Triangle countries, which are El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

At the same time, the vice president will be working with the countries directly to solve the root problems. Vice President Harris will be working to strengthen the nation’s relations with Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

“I can think of nobody who is better qualified to do this,” President Biden told reporters at the White House.

There is a lot of talk about the U.S.-Mexico border right now from both Democrats and Republicans.

Bruno Lozano, the Democratic mayor of Del Rio, Texas, is calling on the Biden administration to take steps to curb the issue. Mayor Lozano was a guest on Fox News recently and spoke about what he saw as an influx of migrants coming into his town. Mayor Lozano told Fox News that the number of people coming to the border has strained Customs and Border Patrol in his city.

“You have a breach on national security levels that have never before been seen in modern history and you’re not even batting an eye about it, you’re not even calling it a ‘crisis‘, you’re calling it a quote-unquote challenge,” Mayor Lozano, told the New York Post on Sunday. “It’s a slap in the face.”

Some residents of Del Rio are critical of their local leaders shifting blame for their own shortcomings.

The brutal winter storm that recently shut down Texas depleted many municipalities of their resources. Residents in Del Rio are putting the blame on their local leaders who have tried to pass the buck. Weeks after the winter storm crippled Texas, grocery store shelves remained empty and residents felt overlooked.

Mayor Lozano has been pleading with President Biden to step up and help them deal with the influx of migrants. Del Rio has one processing center for migrants and the increase has left the city and the processing facility strained.

The Biden administration has faced backlash after photos of detention centers show people sleeping on floors.

There have been several reports that the Biden administration is building new places to hold migrants that have come to the border seeking asylum. The administration is currently taking in unaccompanied minors who are arriving at the border while preventing other migrants from crossing the border.

The Biden administration promised to change the approach to the border, but Title 42 has been left intact. Title 42, which was enacted by the former administration at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, keeps people from entering the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order that invoked Title 42, which closed the border indefinitely due to public health concerns.

At the root of the attention is the claim that there is a surge of migrants.

Some Republican politicians are claiming that news of more lenient immigration laws is prompting a “surge” of arrivals. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California claims that what is happening is a “crisis … created by the presidential policies of this new administration.”

Yet, a Washington Post report debunks the idea that there is a sudden surge. Rather, what is happening, according to the report, is a usual seasonal trend. CBP has reported a 28 percent increase in apprehensions at the southern border in January and February but data shows an annual spike in migrants from March to May every year.

The issues on the border are complex and will require a lot of time and energy to handle effectively and compassionately. The Biden administration promised to tackle the complex issue of immigration during the campaign.

READ: Biden Is Counting On Mexico’s President To Help With Immigration But That’s A Risky Move

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