Connect with us

POLITICS

Trump Justice Department Pushes for Citizenship Question on Census, Alarming Experts

Published

on

The Justice Department is pushing for a question on citizenship to be added to the 2020 census, a move that observers say could depress participation by immigrants who fear that the government could use the information against them. That, in turn, could have potentially large ripple effects for everything the once-a-decade census determines — from how congressional seats are distributed around the country to where hundreds of billions of federal dollars are spent.

The DOJ made the request in a previously unreported letter, dated Dec. 12 and obtained by ProPublica, from DOJ official Arthur Gary to the top official at the Census Bureau, which is part of the Commerce Department. The letter argues that the DOJ needs better citizenship data to better enforce the Voting Rights Act “and its important protections against racial discrimination in voting.”

A Census Bureau spokesperson confirmed the agency received the letter and said the “request will go through the well-established process that any potential question would go through.” The DOJ declined to comment and the White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Observers said they feared adding a citizenship question would not only lower response rates, but also make the census more expensive and throw a wrench into the system with just two years to go before the 2020 count. Questions are usually carefully field-tested, a process that can take years.

“This is a recipe for sabotaging the census,” said Arturo Vargas, a member of the National Advisory Committee of the Census and the executive director of NALEO Educational Fund, a Latino advocacy group. “When you start adding last-minute questions that are not tested — how will the public understand the question? How much will it suppress response rates?”

The 2010 census included a handful of questions covering age, sex, race, Hispanic origin, household relationship and owner/renter status — but not citizenship.

“People are not going to come out to be counted because they’re going to be fearful the information would be used for negative purposes,” said Steve Jost, a former top bureau official during the 2010 census. “This line about enforcing voting rights is a new and scary twist.” He noted that since the first census in 1790, the goal has been to count everyone in the country, not just citizens.

There have been rumblings since the beginning of the year that the Trump administration wanted to add a citizenship question to the census. Adding to the concerns about the 2020 count, Politico reported last month that the administration may appoint to a top job at the bureau a Republican redistricting expert who wrote a book called “Redistricting and Representation: Why Competitive Elections Are Bad for America.” The Census Bureau’s population count determines how the 435 U.S. House seats are distributed.

The law governing the census gives the commerce secretary, currently Wilbur Ross, the power to decide on questions. They must be submitted to Congress for review two years before the census, in this case by April 2018. A census spokesperson said the agency will also release the questions publicly at that time.

A recent Census Bureau presentation shows that the political climate is already having an effect on responsiveness to the bureau’s American Community Survey, which asks a more extensive list of questions, including on citizenship status, to about one in 38 households in the country per year. In one case, census interviewers reported, a respondent “walked out and left interviewer alone in home during citizenship questions.”

“Three years ago, [it] was so much easier to get respondents compared to now because of the government changes … and trust factors. … Three years ago I didn’t have problems with the immigration questions,” said another census interviewer.

The Justice Department letter argues that including a citizenship question on the once-a-decade census would allow the agency to better enforce Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which bars the dilution of voting power of a minority group through redistricting.

“To fully enforce those requirements, the Department needs a reliable calculation of the citizen voting-age population in localities where voting rights violations are alleged or suspected,” the letter states. The letter asks that the Census Bureau “reinstate” the question.

The census, however, hasn’t included questions about citizenship since the early 19th century. The Census Bureau has gathered such data in other surveys. The bureau switched the method of those surveys after the 2000 census. Today, it conducts the American Community Survey every year, which includes questions about citizenship, along with many other questions. The survey covers a sample of residents of the United States.

Experts said the Justice Department’s letter was misleading. And they questioned the Justice Department’s explanation in the letter, noting that the American Community Survey produces data on citizenship that has been used in Section 2 cases.

“You could always have better data but it seems like a strange concern because no one in the communities who are most affected have been raising this concern,” said Michael Li, senior counsel at the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

POLITICS

Porn Actress Confirmed Trump Affair In Unpublished 2011 Interview

Published

on

Former adult film actress Stephanie Clifford confirmed her reported affair with President Donald Trump in a previously unpublished 2011 interview with In Touch, the magazine revealed Wednesday.

The newly disclosed comments by Clifford, whose stage name is Stormy Daniels, lend credence to last week’s Wall Street Journal report that a Trump lawyer arranged a $130,000 payment to her in October 2016 ― right before the presidential election ― to keep quiet about the relationship. Trump’s legal team and Clifford have denied both the affair and the payment.

But in 2011, In Touch says, Clifford told the tabloid that she had sex with Trump in his Lake Tahoe hotel suite in the summer of 2006, the year after Trump had married his third wife, Melania Trump, and just months after she gave birth to their son, Barron Trump.

The magazine chose to publish the interview this week in light of the Journal report and Trump’s rise in significance, magazine spokeswoman Kelsi Ignomirello told HuffPost.

“Donald Trump is clearly a more relevant public figure now than he was in 2011,” she said.

Clifford told In Touch she met Trump at the American Century celebrity golf tournament in July 2006. Wicked Pictures, the adult film company Clifford worked for, was a sponsor of the tournament’s gift lounge, where Trump allegedly approached her. He asked for her phone number and invited her to dinner in his hotel room, according to the 2011 interview. 

“Oh, don’t worry about [Melania],” Trump allegedly told Clifford when she asked about his marriage during dinner. The pair had sex after finishing their meal.

“I remember thinking, ‘I hope he doesn’t think I’m a hooker.’ Not that I have anything against hookers. I just personally have never done it,” Clifford told In Touch.

She described the sex as “textbook generic,” according to the magazine, and added, “I actually don’t even know why I did it, but I do remember while we were having sex, I was like, ‘Please, don’t try to pay me.’”

A friend who corroborated Clifford’s story at the time to In Touch in 2011, fellow porn star Randy Spears, recalled Clifford describing the encounter as “pretty boring.”

This isn’t the only tryst Trump allegedly pursued at the 2006 golf tournament.  Just weeks before Trump’s 2016 presidential victory, adult film actress and director Jessica Drake came forward with allegations that at the event, Trump grabbed her, kissed her and offered her $10,000 for sex.

Drake is one of more than 20 women who have accused Trump of sexual harassment and abuse over several decades. He has repeatedly denied all of the allegations.

Clifford told In Touch that at the end of her evening with Trump, he promised to cast her as a contestant on his NBC reality show “The Apprentice.”

“He goes, ‘People would think you’re just this idiot with blond hair and big boobs. You would be perfect for it because you’re such a smart businesswoman,’” she recalled that Trump said.

He told me once that I was someone to be reckoned with, beautiful and smart just like his daughter.Stephanie Clifford, as quoted in a 2011 interview

He used the promise of casting her as a reason to keep in touch for the next year, according to the interview, and called her from a blocked number “about every 10 days” or whenever he “saw or read about me somewhere.” Her ex-husband, Michael Mosny, corroborated her claims that she and Trump frequently spoke.

At one point in their relationship, In Touch quotes her as saying, Trump even compared her to his daughter (presumably Ivanka, since the president’s other daughter, Tiffany, was a child at the time).

“He told me once that I was someone to be reckoned with, beautiful and smart just like his daughter,” Clifford allegedly said.

Trump appeared to try to initiate sex with her again in July 2007 when she visited his bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Clifford said. Her rebukes marked the beginning of the end for their relationship, she recalled.

“He just kept brushing my hair off my shoulder and kissing my neck,” she alleged. “And he was like, ‘So, can you stay?’ And I was like, ‘No, I gotta go.’ I left, and he kept calling me less and less over the coming months.”

Neither the White House nor Clifford have yet to comment on the In Touch interview.

Continue Reading

POLITICS

Citing Court Order, Trump Administration Resumes Accepting DACA Renewal Applications

Published

on

Days after a federal judge in California temporarily blocked President Donald Trump’sefforts to pull the plug on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, the federal government said on Saturday that it would resume accepting renewal applications for the program “until further notice.”

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said in a statement on its website that DACA will be “operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded on Sept. 5, 2017.” That was the date on which Trump announced his decision to terminate the Obama-era program that shielded some 700,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

“Due to a federal court order, USCIS has resumed accepting requests to renew a grant of deferred action under DACA,” the agency said.

Renewal applications will, however, only be accepted from people who previously received DACA and whose deferred action had expired on or after Sept. 5, 2016.

Former DACA recipients whose grant expired before that date cannot request a renewal, but they can file a new request, the agency said. No new applicants will be accepted.

Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, warned on Saturday that the window for renewal applications may be “short.” She urged those eligible for renewal to prepare their applications promptly.

The USCIS announcement comes on the heels of U.S. District Judge William Alsup’s issuance on Tuesday of a nationwide injunction blocking the Trump administration’s effort to rescind the program.

Alsup ruled that the federal government must “maintain [DACA] on a nationwide basis” while legal challenges to ending the program proceed in court.

“Plaintiffs have clearly demonstrated that they are likely to suffer serious irreparable harm absent an injunction,” Alsup wrote in an opinion explaining the injunction. “Before DACA, Individual Plaintiffs, brought to America as children, faced a tough set of life and career choices turning on the comparative probabilities of being deported versus remaining here. DACA gave them a more tolerable set of choices, including joining the mainstream workforce.”

Alsup’s ruling provoked the wrath of Trump, who blasted the “court system” as “broken and unfair” in a Wednesday tweet.

Continue Reading

Donald Trump

Help for vets: Trump deploys more firepower against suicides

Published

on

Members of the armed forces put their lives on the line for the nation, so it’s only appropriate that the federal government does all it can to protect them from post-service psychiatric problems. President Donald Trump sent that message Tuesday with an executive order enhancing mental health services for recently discharged veterans. Suicide rates among former service members remain high, especially among those fresh out of uniform, and all reasonable efforts to stanch the epidemic are worth making.

Mr. Trump’s order makes a wide range of mental health services available to all veterans as they transition back to civilian society. Until now, a full complement of services was available only to about 40 percent of those recently discharged, most of them from the combat ranks. But any service member returning to civilian life can encounter problems with employment, relationships or changes in routine that increase the odds of suicide. The best approach is to make services available to all.

Importantly, the president’s order not only authorizes services for all veterans during their transition periods but directs Cabinet-level agencies to ensure those services are plentiful and available. For example, Mr. Trump directed the Department of Veterans Affairs to expand its use of telemedicine, which has the potential to connect veterans with care no matter where they live, and its use of technology that allows former service members to schedule appointments online.

Veterans also may schedule appointments in the private sector if the VA system cannot serve them quickly enough — an important allowance given the VA’s past failures to provide prompt treatment. One important resource may be the nonprofit Give an Hour, which arranges for mental health professionals to donate services to veterans and members of their families.

Mr. Trump’s order builds on other efforts, some predating his administration, to stem the mental health crisis among veterans.

In 2016, the government released a three-year study showing the benefits of a certain kind of talk therapy in helping veterans manage post-traumatic stress disorder. Also in 2016, it issued a report documenting the scope of the suicide problem. The report, updated last year, found that the suicide rate for veterans was considerably higher than that of the average population; that in 2014, an average of 20 veterans took their lives each day; and that suicide was most common among veterans 29 and younger and lowest among those 60 and older. The report provided state-by-state data, showing that Pennsylvania’s rate mirrored the nation’s but was considerably above that for the Northeast.

As the government moves to implement Mr. Trump’s order, officials should remember that making services available is not always sufficient. Many of those who took their lives already were receiving VA care of one kind or another, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has estimated that only half of veterans needing mental health care seek treatment. The government must continue riding herd on recently discharged veterans, promoting mental health care among those who might be reluctant to seek it and constantly assessing the quality of care provided to those who did ask for help.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

NEWSLETTER

Trending