Tuesday - Jun 25, 2019

Census 2020 – Continued dispute over legality of immigration status question


To erase our presence: the growing political force in this country

by Fernando A. Torres
Special for El Reportero

The incorporation of the question about the migratory status into the Census 2020 that the presidency is trying to impose is still in legal dispute. The first legal opinion in this regard was that of Jesse Furman, a federal judge in New York who rejected its inclusion. The appeal to this decision, from the Trump administration to the Supreme Court, has not yet been answered by the highest court.

To date, five additional lawsuits have been filed throughout the country, one in California where the attorney general, Xavier Becerra, described the question as not just a “bad idea” but “illegal. Obviously the interests of California and our entire country are interested in having a precise census,” said Becerra.

Due to this question, experts have estimated that hundreds of thousands of people will not respond to the census out of fear. “I am pleased that a federal judge rejected the Trump administration’s attempt to undermine the United States Constitution by discouraging whole communities from being included in the 2020 Census,” said State Senator Richard Pan. “The judicial ruling of today is a victory for all those who believe in democracy and the purpose of the founders of our country. Clearly, the interests of California and our entire country are interested in having a precise census, “he added.

In a recent national teleconference organized by Ethnic Media Services with leaders and experts from various social organizations at the national level, Angela Manso, Director of Political and Legislative Affairs of the National Association of Elected and Appointed Latino Officials, NALEO, Fund for Education , said that from the first moment of the announcement of the Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross about the inclusion of the question, it was seen as a “machination to hide a political intention, We believe that (the question) was designed to erase our presence, the growing political force in this country. ” Manso also warned that Congress should act to pass legislation and eliminate the question once and for all.”

Experts agreed that Commerce Minister Wilbur Ross “gave in to political pressure” and in March 2018 he ordered the question to be added to the census form. The secretary said that this was necessary to effectively enforce the Voting Rights Act “but we know that this is not true and Judge Furman also knows that,” said Beth Lynk, Director of the Census Campaign of the Leadership Conference.

In his decision of Jan. 15, the judge found that the real reason for adding the question about his immigration status was somewhat different from the reason given by Ross. Speaking by telephone with a group of mostly ethnic media journalists, Lynk said the judge came to the conclusion that the secretary’s decision was illegal and will reduce the participation of those who are not immigrant citizens and Hispanic communities.

Judge Furman wrote in his opinion that “if the question is included, hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people will not be counted in the census,” the data collected will be of lower quality and will damage the rights to federal funds, weaken representation in Congress and will undermine participation within the municipal political power. “The court could infer the various ways in which Minister Ross and his aides acted as people with something to hide, that they had something to hide,” Furman wrote.

Meanwhile, local leaders also rejected the inclusion of the question and some considered it as part of a campaign to exclude important political forces.

For university professor Rick Ayers the purpose of the Presidency is to crush the growing strength of the electorate of the various ethnic groups. “Many, if not most, of the Latino respondents, as well as those in Africa and Asia, probably do not respond to the census at all.” Therefore, these communities will not have a political representation according to the demographic reality.

And the numbers indicate that Latinos are becoming a powerful political force in the country. According to a report released last week by the PEW Research Center, Latinos will be the nation’s largest ethnic voting group qualified to vote in the presidential elections. For the 2020 election year, Latinos with the right to pay will be 32 million, African-Americans will be 30 and Asians 11 million, double the data for the year 2000.

Nearly two-thirds of Asian-Americans “express concern about the use of census data,” said John Yang, executive director of Asian-Americans Advancing in Justice (AAJC). The 41 percent was extremely worried. “There is great fear for anti-immigrant sentiment inside the country,” Yang concluded.

This is part of a “generalized Republican campaign to suppress African-American and Latino votes – a campaign that includes intimidation … is another racist initiative of the current offensive of white supremacy in the United States,” said Ayers, who works at San Francisco State University.

“I’m not surprised that they seek to change the parameters of one of the most impartial and economically significant institutions for all of society, such as the Census,” said Edgar Ayala, well-known graphic designer of the Bay Area. “A desperate gesture on the part of those who, from an Anglo-Saxon supremacy ideology, unsuccessfully try to tear down those social bridges that make us participate in the constant multicultural and radically diverse construction of this country, north of the American continent,” he added.

“For many immigrants, even those who enjoy the precious documents, the memory of state persecution is on the surface and any delivery of additional information is perceived with suspicion,” said the singer of the city of Richmond Marci Valdivieso.

Giving information “is not only scary but also a direct threat to the integrity of the family since any cross-cutting use of that information among government agencies can result in deportation. And we are not going to say that the line of legality is never crossed here when the xenophobic, racist and excluding perceptions of some people in positions of authority are at stake. For all this, I join the voices of those who insist that this question is unnecessary, “said Valdivieso.

“This country does not consult: it imposes. Inside and outside its borders “said theater actor Carlos Barón.
“What they are trying to do is to intimidate immigrants – whether they are documented or not – and thus manipulate the elections. Who are behind that move? Conservative political groups. Fear rules in this country, “Baron said.