Home / United States / E-mails show that a Census Bureau official contacted a GOP operational manager about a citizenship issue – ThinkProgress

E-mails show that a Census Bureau official contacted a GOP operational manager about a citizenship issue – ThinkProgress

Emails found in a new court record reveal a direct link between the Census Bureau and the GOP agent who wanted to rig the 10-year survey for "Republicans and non-Hispanic Whites".

The filing was part of an ongoing legal battle between several groups contesting the Census Bureau's decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, which could result in extensive under-enumeration affecting mainly Black and Latino people who feared to declare their status, for fear that their answers could not be used for the purposes of immigration control.

The lawyers for Covington & Burling, the Mexican American Fund for Legal Defense and Education (MALDEF), and the Americans of Asian Origin (CLIA), who presented the new evidence, indicated that e-mails sent in January 2015 provided the clearest information government made the decision to include such a question in the census and "[contradict] the Trump administration "that it was made" simply to enforce the federal law on the right to vote ".

"While the Supreme Court has taken legal action to remove the question of citizenship from the census based on the violation of the Law on Administrative Procedure and the Enumeration Clause of the Constitution, there is still considerable serious questions regarding the growing evidence of unconstitutional racial discrimination behind the issue of citizenship. Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF, said Friday night in a statement. "These questions must be resolved with authority before the census proceeds. our census must be free of horrible stain of unconstitutional discrimination. "

The e-mails in question were sent by Christa Jones, current chief of staff, to Ron Jarmin, deputy director of the office, to the decedent agent of the Republican dismemberment Thomas Hofeller on January 6 and 7, 2015.

On January 6 of the same year, Jones sent Hofeller an e-mail containing a link to the Federal Register notification asking the public to comment on the changes to the census questions. "Public comments are very useful in this context," she wrote.

In a follow-up email published the next day, Jones wrote, "It can also be an opportunity to mention citizenship."

Screenshot of emails from Jones to Hofeller in 2015

Hofeller, considered by Republicans as the leading architect behind the country's most successful efforts in gerrymandering, wrote an unpublished study published a few months later, which showed that the addition of 39, a question on citizenship in the census would "disadvantage the Democrats" and "would be of benefit to Republicans and non-citizens". Hispanic whites. "

A question of citizenship "would also provoke strong resistance from the Democrats and the main minority groups in the country," he wrote.

This study was discovered by the separate daughter of Hofeller, as well as by many other documents, after his death last year. The documents were cited in a file filed earlier this year by a court.

The complainants argued that the discovery appeared to prove that Hofeller was responsible for the essential part of the Justice Department's draft letter stating that a citizenship issue was necessary to enforce the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The Trump administration then reacted on the grounds that Hofeller had no role to play in adding the citizenship question and claimed that it was impossible to prove any connection between Hofeller and the Census Bureau or its parent company. , the Department of Commerce. Government lawyers claimed that there was "literally no evidence that [Commerce] secretary [Wilbur] Ross (or another member of the government) was aware of [Hofeller’s] study, his discoveries or his theories. "

Recently discovered emails seem to contradict this claim, at least in part. The Census Bureau has not yet commented on new deposits.

Jones' role in the decision to add a citizenship issue is complex. As NPR notes,

In the months leading up to the administration's announcement in March 2018 that a citizenship question was added, Jones informed Jarmin, who was then acting director of the office. Trade Department officials under pressure from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to get the census question turned to Jones as the point of contact.

"Christa was my liaison there to make sure we could get a quick census response," said Sahra Park-Su, head of the Commerce Department, during a lawsuit. "If she answered, then it was a good idea of ​​what was going on in the census."

Jones was also responsible for advising Ross on the Conservative groups to contact to discuss the issue of citizenship. These groups included controversial organizations such as the Center for Studies on Anti-Immigrant Immigration.

Experts say the addition of a question on citizenship to the census is jeopardizing already marginalized populations and could lead to the exclusion of some 4 million people from the final count. Such undercoverage could have serious political consequences.

"Census data is crucial for the allocation of congressional seats, the definition of specific constituencies and the fair distribution of federal funds for a wide range of essential programs," said MALDEF this week.

The latest discovery, he said, was further evidence "that members of the administration conspired to deprive racial minorities of their constitutional right to equal representation".

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