Attorneys Want Sanctions Against The DOJ Over The 2020 Census

( Numbers from the once-a-decade Census aren’t going to be ready until February, an attorney for the Trump administration announced this week. This means it will be difficult, if not impossible, for President Donald Trump to exclude people who are in the U.S. illegally from being counted in the numbers.

The numbers from the Census, which is taken every 10 years, are used to determine how many congressional seats each state gets. This affects the number of members of the House of Representatives per state. Each state gets two members in the U.S. Senate, regardless of population.

The Trump administration had been attempting to exclude people in the country illegally from being counted. With the totals not happening until after the January 20 inauguration of Democrat Joe Biden, though, that effort will be in question. Biden has said in the past that he opposes doing so.

The U.S. Census Bureau also announced recently that it found irregularities in the count, as well as the distribution of federal spending that totals $1.5 trillion per year. That was announced at a court hearing recently by Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Coghlan.

According to Coghlan, the projected date for completion is February 9, though, “it’s a continuously moving target,” he said.

Federal law dictates that the Census Bureau turn in the numbers that are used for divvying up the congressional seats by December 31. Last week, though, the bureau said they wouldn’t have those numbers ready by that deadline. In making that announcement, the bureau said it would get the work done as soon as possible.

It was at a public hearing regarding a federal lawsuit filed in San Jose, California, that the February 9 date was revealed.

A coalition of advocacy groups and municipalities brought the California lawsuit against the Trump administration. Their goal was to stop the Census from ending the count early. Their concern is that a shortened timeframe would cause minority communities to be undercounted and, therefore, underrepresented in the federal government.

In addition to hoping to curb the early ending of the count, the plaintiffs in the case are seeking to review documents and data related to the 2020 Census to assess its accuracy.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs are arguing that the Trump administration ended the head count early — as well as that of the data processing schedule — to ensure he was still in office when it was completed. This would allow Trump to enforce his apportionment order that would exclude people who are in the U.S. illegally from being counted, they argue.

Independent experts also believe that the Trump administration’s push to hurry up the results and data collection are bound to hurt minority communities. Rob Santos, who serves as the president of the American Statistical Association, said Monday:

“I appreciate the need for target dates but hope and expect that the Census Bureau would double down on its commitment to focus primarily on the quality of the apportionment counts, however long that takes.”