Wilbur Ross: 'The Census is strictly confidential'
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross has ensured that the citizenship information in the 2020 census will be private and will not be shared with other government agencies. Can we believe him?
Since the Department of Commerce announced at the beginning of the year the incorporation of the question of citizenship in the 2020 census, the Latin population has been once again threatened by an administration that insists on persecuting all immigrants in the country, "legal" or not.
A government procedure over 200 years old, designed to determine the fair distribution of funding throughout the territory and the drawing of congressional districts, has now been transformed into a double-edged sword for immigrants.
The Census Bureau plans to "ask people in the 2020 census if they are citizens, born in the country or naturalized, or non-citizens," NBC explained. The measure has been interpreted as a mechanism of persecution and "vote suppression" designed by the government to count only citizens that it considers "real" Americans.
The new question may not only alter the true count of citizens in the country, reducing their representation in Congress, but also hinder the arrival of funds to predominantly immigrant communities.
The character that has represented this measure has been the Secretary of Commerce of the Trump administration, Wilbur Ross, who assured before Congress that the decision had been authorized and recommended by the Department of Justice, an assertion that contradicts a memorandum made public by the investigation of New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood.
The document is now part of a lawsuit led by the prosecutor against the incorporation of the question and demonstrates that "the Department initially opposed" the measure, which would reveal Ross' statements before Congress as a lie under oath.
Before the judicial procedure, the Department of Justice has requested to the Supreme Court on Wednesday to "block a lower court order for Commerce Secretary to be questioned" by the lawyers leading the lawsuit and who argue concerns for the fairness of the measure, concerns that have been "amplified by the anti-immigrant policies, actions, and rhetoric targeting immigrant communities of President Trump and this Administration," Reuters reported.
For his part, Ross said this week during a press conference at the National Partnership Press Event, that "the Census is strictly confidential."
"Responses are not shared with anyone outside the Census Bureau," continued the Secretary of Commerce. "Since 1954, Census workers have sworn for life to uphold confidentiality protections contained in the Title 13 legal statute."
Ross makes reference to the interdiction of the law before the dissemination of the information of the respondent to any person or government department, which includes the IRS, FBI, ICE, and DHS.
However, statistical figures show that citizens do not trust the government at all. A survey conducted by Latino Decisions and NALEO found that "more than two-thirds - 68% - of Latinos claimed to believe that the Trump administration will share their personal information collected by the Census, including their immigration status."
According to what Arturo Vargas, executive director of NALEO, told NBC, the level of fear that the Trump administration has created around immigration will prevent a fair count during the census, both due to the reluctance of people to respond and the difficulty that it will imply for officials and volunteers to explain the nature of the question.