‘The bureaucratic runaround Judicial Watch received from the Census Bureau on its potentially illegal hiring of aliens to help conduct the census is remarkable…’
Now, Judicial Watch says, the bureau’s stonewalling on the answers to those questions has created even greater concerns over its intentions and the ability to oversee the national population count under politically charged conditions.
“The bureaucratic runaround Judicial Watch received from the Census Bureau on its potentially illegal hiring of aliens to help conduct the census is remarkable—and not in a good way” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton in a press release.
“Judicial Watch simply wants the documents so the public can be reassured that the census is being run according to law,” he said.
The underlying reason for the request was to ensure that the Census Bureau was complying with federal laws about the hiring of non-citizens. While it is generally prohibited from doing so, officials have claimed there are exceptions to the rule when it comes to things like translation issues.
“There are flexibilities within the Appropriation Act that would permit, for example, based on language requirements, some exemptions,” said Tim Olson, associate director for field operations at the Census Bureau, according to US News and World Report.
“We are actively working through those flexibilities to see if they can be used in 2020,” Olson said in August. “We are not there yet.”
According to Judicial Watch, the agency—an offshoot of the Commerce Department—seems no closer to getting their now than it was three months ago, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping it from moving forward with its hiring initiatives.
Fitton said that in response to an open-records request, the Census Bureau had sent two identical forms—even containing the same typos—requesting additional clarity on the request.
It seemed to be more of a stalling tactic than a good faith effort at compliance, he said.
“After a telephone conference and at least two more rounds of discussions, the Census Bureau still has not indicated whether it will process the straightforward request.”
Census officials also played semantic games by feigning ignorance over the use of the word “illegal”—claiming, “There is nowhere in our legal flexibilities that refers to people we could possibly hire as ‘’illegal.’”
However, the bureau later revealed it made no distinction between legal, documented aliens and those who had violated US law to gain residence in the country, Judicial Watch said.
Now, the government accountability and transparency watchdog has filed suit instead.
Concerns over the bureau’s intentions are well-founded given the focus that already has been paid to illegal immigration and election fraud matters during the Obama and Trump presidencies of the past decade.
After Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced the return of a citizenship question long excluded from most census forms, left-wing activists filed suit in several states—including New York, California and Maryland—to block the move, claiming it would deter participation by illegals.
That would, in turn, result in a loss of funding and political representation for “sanctuary” states that encouraged illegals to stay with various protections and services.
In June, the US Supreme Court ruled against Ross and the Trump administration, saying that even though the question was justified in theory, Ross had failed to give sufficient reason for making the change under the Administrative Procedures Act.
Trump initially planned to continue the fight after the case was remanded back to the lower courts, but facing tight printing deadlines, he backed off, saying he would use other means to obtain an accurate count of illegal immigrants through means such as driver’s license records.
Thus far, only Nebraska has publicly announced it plans to cooperate with the record-sharing request.
California‘s use of non-citizens for voter-registration and ballot-harvesting initiatives came under scrutiny following the 2016 and 2018 elections, amid reports of non-citizens aggressively soliciting new registrants—some of them homeless—and attempting to sway their vote.