pcloudy.png
Tuesday October 22nd, 2019 12:23PM

Trump citizenship plan will face logistical, legal hurdles

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — After failing to get his citizenship question on the census, President Donald Trump now says his fallback plan will provide an even more accurate count — determining the citizenship of 90 percent of the population "or more." But his plan will likely be limited by logistical hurdles and legal restrictions.

Trump wants to distill a massive trove of data across seven government agencies — and possibly across 50 states. It's far from clear how such varying systems can be mined, combined and compared.

He directed the Commerce Department, which manages the census, to form a working group.

"The logistical barriers are significant, if not insurmountable," said Paul Light, a senior fellow of Governance Studies at New York University with a long history of research in government reform. "The federal government does not invest, and hasn't been investing for a long time, in the kind of data systems and recruitment of experts that this kind of database construction would require."

Trump says he aims to answer how many people are here illegally, though there already are recent estimates , and possibly use such information to divvy up congressional seats based on citizenship. It's also a way for Trump to show his base that he's not backing down (even as he's had to back down) from a battle over the question on his signature topic, immigration.

The administration faced challenges last year when it was tasked by a federal judge with quickly creating a system to track migrant families that had been separated by immigration officials. They found agency systems weren't compatible.

"Information-sharing is not a habit of federal agencies," Light said.

Trump's plan is aimed at yet-again circumventing legal challenges on an immigration related matter, as courts have barred him from inquiring about citizenship on the 2020 census. But it could spark further legal action, depending on what his administration intends to do with the citizenship information.

His executive order announced Thursday requires highly detailed information, including national-level files of all lawful permanent residents, Customs and Border arrival and departure data and Social Security Administration master beneficiary records. Plus information on Medicaid and children's health systems and refugee and asylum visas.

The order states that "generating accurate data concerning the total number of citizens, non-citizens and illegal aliens in the country has nothing to do with enforcing immigration laws against particular individuals," and that information would be used "solely to produce statistics" and would not be used to "bring immigration enforcement actions against particular individuals."

Dale Ho, the director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project who argued the citizenship question case at the Supreme Court, said the main privacy concern now would be disclosure of individuals' citizenship status.

Federal law bars the Census Bureau from disclosing an individual's responses to the census. But Ho said that if the bureau can produce citizenship information in small geographical bites, it could inadvertently expose a person's citizenship status.

The bureau has methods in place that are designed to prevent such disclosures, but "we don't know enough yet to know the answers," Ho said.

In March, the Associated Press reported that even before the outcome of the census question litigation, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which maintains some of the requested data, had been working on a data-sharing agreement that would give census access to names, addresses, birth dates and places, as well as Social Security numbers and alien registration numbers.

The possibilities worried immigrant rights advocates, especially given Trump's hardline stance on immigration.

Samantha Artiga, a Medicaid expert with the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, said she is concerned that Trump's directive will discourage some immigrants from applying for health benefits they'd be entitled to.

"It is likely that this policy will further enhance already heightened fears among families about applying for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program for lawfully present immigrants or citizen children in immigrant families, potentially leading to fall-offs in coverage," she said.

But to some degree, Trump's directive reflects what was already being put into place before the controversy about a citizenship question on the census. The Census Bureau had stressed that it could produce better citizenship data without adding the question and had recommended combining information from the annual American Community Survey with records held by other federal agencies that already include citizenship records. The survey polls 3.5 million U.S. households and includes questions about citizenship.

"It's a retreat back to what he should have done from the beginning," said Kenneth Prewitt, a former Census Bureau director.

Transferring the data from other agencies to the Census Bureau is not necessarily difficult, but some, like Customs arrivals data, contain hundreds of millions of entries and it will take time to compile, maybe years. Getting the information to match up with census data will be the main challenge.

Prewitt said government records tend to be highly accurate for some purposes and less so for others. It's essential for the Social Security Administration, for instance, to know the age of Americans accurately, but it isn't as concerned with addresses.

According to a 2018 report, the Census Bureau already has access to data from the IRS, Social Security, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Postal Service, the Selective Service System, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Indian Health Service. The agency also gets data from some states that administer federal programs such as food stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the Women, Infants, and Children nutrition program.

Virtually all federal social programs are open only to citizens or to immigrants who have been lawfully present for at least five years.

"I think the executive order will just hurry up negotiations about data-sharing that are already in the works," said Julia Gelatt, a senior policy analyst with the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute think tank.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who is in charge of the Census Bureau, insisted on adding the citizenship question and a legal challenge ensued, ending with a ruling by the Supreme Court temporarily barring its inclusion on the grounds that the government's justification was insufficient.

He had offered multiple explanations for why he believed the question was necessary to include in the once-a-decade population count that determines the allocation of seats in the House of Representatives for the next 10 years and the distribution of some $675 billion in federal spending.

Even after the Supreme Court ruled against him, Trump insisted he was pushing forward, contradicting government lawyers and Ross, who had conceded the case was closed, as well as the Census Bureau, which had started printing the 2020 questionnaire without the controversial query.

Trump toyed with the idea of halting the constitutionally-mandated survey entirely while the court battle played out. But by Thursday evening, he gave up on including the question in the census and announced the executive order.

___

Associated Press Writer Geoff Mulvihill in Trenton, New Jersey contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Health, AP Health - Children's Health, AP Business
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Trump citizenship plan will face logistical, legal hurdles
After failing to get a citizenship question on the census, President Donald Trump is now saying his fallback plan will provide a more accurate count. But that plan is going to face logistical and legal hurdles
4:49PM ( 10 minutes ago )
As Barry approaches, New Orleans residents debate evacuation
As Barry approaches, New Orleans residents debate evacuation
4:41PM ( 18 minutes ago )
US man accused of sex abuse at Kenyan orphanage he founded
Federal prosecutors say a Pennsylvania man molested four teenage girls at a Kenyan orphanage he founded with a church's help
4:33PM ( 26 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
House approves 9/11 victims bill, sends it to Senate
The House has overwhelmingly approved a bill ensuring that a victims compensation fund for the Sept. 11 attacks never runs out of money
4:14PM ( 46 minutes ago )
11 years after epic, Federer tops Nadal in Wimbledon semis
Roger Federer beats Rafael Nadal in four sets to reach his 12th Wimbledon final; Novak Djokovic awaits in the title match
4:07PM ( 52 minutes ago )
Sudden turbulence that injured dozens is hard to predict
Passengers on a flight from Canada to Australia say they had no warning about turbulence that suddenly slammed people into the ceiling of the plane and injured more than three dozen
4:03PM ( 56 minutes ago )
AP National News
House Democrats lead push to restrict Trump on Iran strikes
The Democratic-controlled House has voted to put a liberalized stamp on Pentagon policy, including a bipartisan proposal to limit President Donald Trump's authority to make war against Iran
3:08PM ( 1 hour ago )
Acosta resigning amid new scrutiny, outrage for Epstein deal
Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta is resigning from President Donald Trump's Cabinet amid scrutiny of his handling of a secret plea deal with a financier accused of sexually underage girls
3:05PM ( 1 hour ago )
New Orleans' levees face a hard test as storm bears down
Tropical Storm Barry is packing a soggy punch that will test New Orleans' flood defenses this weekend
3:00PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online National News
Science Says: Airplane turbulence can strike out of the blue
Diverted Air Canada flight seems to have been shaken by 'clear air turbulence," which strikes without warning
2:41PM ( 2 hours ago )
Dozens vie for chance to grow medical marijuana in Utah
Candidates for the medical marijuana grower program in Utah include a longtime alfalfa farmer whose battle with cancer sparked an interest in cannabis and an ambitious hemp processor who lost his mother to an opioid addiction
12:38PM ( 4 hours ago )
Klobuchar's plan would help Alzheimer's patients, caregivers
Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar has a new plan to help seniors that includes more support for people with Alzheimer's disease and their caregivers
6:17AM ( 10 hours ago )
AP Health
Asylum-seeker talks about daughter's death after US custody
A Guatemalan mother seeking asylum has told a House panel that she came to the U.S. seeking safety, but instead watched her infant daughter die slowly and painfully after the baby received shoddy medical care while they were in immigration custody
6:41PM ( 1 day ago )
Teen odds of using marijuana dip with recreational use laws
Teen odds of using pot dip with laws allowing recreational adult use, study says
9:02PM ( 3 days ago )
Pregnant teens especially vulnerable in border centers
Teen moms and pregnant girls are among the most vulnerable migrants
4:12PM ( 1 week ago )
AP Health - Children's Health
US stock indexes continue to climb into record territory
Stocks climb into record territory, helped by industrial companies.
3:29PM ( 1 hour ago )
Mnuchin urges Congress to quickly pass new debt limit
Mnuchin urges Congress to increase debt limit before recess to avoid unprecedented default on the national debt.
2:37PM ( 2 hours ago )
Court sympathetic to House in records fight with Trump
A federal appeals court seems inclined to side with a House committee seeking some of President Donald Trump's financial records of as part of an investigation
2:37PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
As Barry approaches, New Orleans residents debate evacuation
As Barry approaches, New Orleans residents debate evacuation
4:41PM ( 18 minutes ago )
US man accused of sex abuse at Kenyan orphanage he founded
Federal prosecutors say a Pennsylvania man molested four teenage girls at a Kenyan orphanage he founded with a church's help
4:33PM ( 26 minutes ago )
Stocks climb to records on hopes for lower interest rates
Stocks climb to more record highs, helped by industrial companies.
4:30PM ( 29 minutes ago )
Report: FTC approves roughly $5B fine for Facebook
A Wall Street Journal report says that the FTC has voted this week to approve a fine of about $5 billion for Facebook over privacy violations
4:25PM ( 34 minutes ago )
Competition to grow medical marijuana in Utah heats up
Candidates for the medical marijuana grower program in Utah include a longtime alfalfa farmer whose battle with cancer sparked an interest in cannabis and an ambitious hemp processor who lost his mother to an opioid addiction
4:25PM ( 34 minutes ago )