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challenging President Trump’s order in federal court in Maryland, told the AP that the collected data may be wrong or outdated.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

Court Orders ICE To Release Children In Their Custody As COVID-19 Tears Through Detention Centers

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Court Orders ICE To Release Children In Their Custody As COVID-19 Tears Through Detention Centers

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

COVID-19 is spiking across the U.S. with 32 states watching as new cases of the virus continue to climb day after day. California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida are among states that have set daily new infection records. With this backdrop, a federal judge has ruled that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) must release children, with their parents, by July 17.

A judge ordered Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to release children in detention by a certain date.

U.S. Judge Dolly Gee ordered ICE to act quickly in response to the rampant COVID-19 spread in detention centers to protect the health of migrants. Judge Gee is giving ICE until July 17 to comply and release all children that have been in the agency’s custody.

U.S. Judge Gee ruled that the threat of the pandemic is great where the children are being held.

“Given the severity of the outbreak in the counties in which FRCs are located and the Independent Monitor and Dr. Wise’s observations of non-compliance or spotty compliance with masking and social distancing rules, renewed and more vigorous efforts must be undertaken to transfer (children) residing at the FRCs to non-congregate settings,” Judge Gee wrote in her order.

Concerned politicians and public figures are celebrating the judge’s order.

The order is aimed specifically at the Family Residential Centers (FRCs) and Office of Refugee Resettlement camps across the country. The virus has been running rampant in detention centers and prisons and, according to the judge, unsurprisingly the virus has made it to the FRCs.

She continued: “The FRCs are ‘on fire’ and there is no more time for half measures.”

National leaders are calling on ICE to follow the ruling by a federal judge.

The judge’s order is aimed at the three FRCs in the U.S. Two are in Texas and one is in Pennsylvania. Unaccompanied minors in various shelters are also included in the order.

“Although progress has been made, the Court is not surprised that [COVID-19] has arrived at both the [Family Residential Centers] and [Office of Refugee Resettlement] facilities, as health professionals have warned all along,” Judge Gee wrote.

This story is developing and we will update as new information arises.

READ: After COVID-19 Shut Down Flights, A Man Sailed Across The Atlantic Ocean All So That He Could See His Dad

Supreme Court Blocks Trump Administration From Eliminating DACA

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Supreme Court Blocks Trump Administration From Eliminating DACA

Ethan Miller / Getty Images

For three years, people with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status faced an uncertain future. The Trump administration was involved in legal battles after abruptly eliminating the program. For the third time this week, the Supreme Court has handed down a major loss for the Trump administration as they protected DACA from Trump’s attack.

The Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration cannot end DACA.

The 5-4 decision is the third major legal loss for the Trump administration this week. SCOTUS ruled earlier this week that LGBTQ+ cannot be fired for their sexual orientation or gender identity. The court also refused to take up a case challenging California’s sanctuary state law letting the law stand.

The decision to temporarily protect DACA was a split decision with all of the conservative justices (Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, and Samuel A. Alito Jr.) voting in favor of the Trump administration. Justice John Robert joined the liberal justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan saving the program from the Trump administration, for now.

In the ruling, written by Justice John Roberts, the court cites that the acting secretary of state violated the Administrative Procedures Act when ending the program. Basically, the announcement was lacking substance and did not address key parts of the policy. This made the announcement void of an argument supporting the dismantling of the program.

The ruling is only temporary relief for the hundreds of thousands of young people on DACA.

While the program has been spared, it is not completely saved. The decision from the Supreme Court today focuses on the way DACA was eliminated, not the actual elimination. This means that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) now has time to reevaluate its case against DACA to try again.

“The Court still does not resolve the question of DACA’s rescission,” Alito wrote in his dissent. “Instead, it tells the Department of Homeland Security to go back and try again.”

The conservative justices, while dissenting, did release statements that agreed with parts of the decision to block the Trump administration from eliminating DACA. The Trump administration first announced that they were ending DACA in 2017 with a press conference on the border led by Jeff Sessions.

Justice Sotomayor made her own headlines after calling the case a racist attack.

“I would not so readily dismiss the allegation that an executive decision disproportionately harms the same racial group that the President branded as less desirable mere months earlier,” Justice Sotomayor wrote in her concurrence of the decision.

Organizers and activists are giving credit to the DACA community for this victory.

The DACA community has led the charge to protect their status in the U.S. The movement has largely been done thanks to the work of DACA recipients fighting for their right to be here. For many, it is the only country they know after arriving to the U.S. without proper documentation when they were young children.

The president has tweeted his clear displeasure on the Supreme Court that he tried to stack in his favor by appointing two justices.

Both justice Kavanaugh and Gorsuch were Trump’s appointees. After three losses from the Supreme Court, President Trump followed his usual playbook and accused the Supreme Court of not liking him.

Now, it is time for Congress to act.

With DACA recipients temporarily spared sudden deportation, Congress must act and pass legislation protecting Dreamers from being deported. The Dream Act is one piece of legislation that offers DACA recipients a pathway to citizenship, something most Americans agree with.

READ: ICE Is Threatening To Reopen Deportation Proceedings Against All DACA Recipients Regardless Of DACA Status