Andrew Harnik / AP
Updated Friday at 2:32 p.m. ET
The Census Bureau is curbing brief criticisms of the 2020 census amid growing concerns among Democrats in Congress that the White House is urging the office to soon wrap up the net profit, which the NRP has learned.
Attempts by Office staff to conduct face-to-face census interviews will end from September 30 to October 31, but a deadline in April is not needed to count every person living in the United States with major failures. from a coronavirus pandemic. Three Census Bureau staff, who were informed of the plans during separate internal meetings on Thursday, confirmed the new end date, along with the NRP. All employees spoke of anonymity for fear of losing their jobs.
“It will be impossible to complete the census in time,” says one of the office’s staff, a district manager who oversees local census offices. “I’m very afraid we will have a huge underworld.”
Asked why and when it was decided to move at the end of the door knock, the Bureau Census Bureau said in a written statement on Friday: “We are currently evaluating our operations to enable the Cens Bureau to provide this information as soon as possible and issue a notice once these plans are completed. ‘ “
Approximately 4 out of 10 households nationwide have still not participated in the constitutionally determined number of each person living in the United States, and the level of self-knowledge is even lower in many communities.
This month, the office began deploying knockers to visit unresponsive homes in certain parts of the country. A knock effort is expected to be launched at national level on 11 August.
It is not clear how long households can submit census responses online, by telephone and by post. The presidency’s website, which was still listed on Thursday 31 October as the end of the “self-response phase”, which began in March, now reads this phase until the end of the field data collection.
The condensed time frame of knocking increases the risk of omitting many people of color, immigrants, and other members of historically underrated groups from figures that gather every ten years to determine the share of each state’s congressional seats, the election college, and an estimated $ 1.5 trillion. year in federal tax dollars for Medicare, Medicaid and other utilities.
Former Census Director John Thompson warns that in the short term, the presidency would probably have to reduce the number of attempts by knockers to try to obtain information in person. The Agency may need to rely more on statistical methods to penetrate data on people living in households that cannot be accessed.
“It simply came to our notice then [over-representation] for the White Non-Hispanic population and a greater undervaluation of all other populations, including the traditionally difficult to count, “Thompson wrote on Wednesday of a written testimony for a census hearing before the parliamentary oversight and reform committee.
This last-minute planning change to the largest and most expensive field census operation in 2020 comes when the office publishes mixed signals about its plans to complete the census.
In April, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, who oversees the office, asked Congress to extend the legal deadlines for reporting census results because the office said more time was needed to complete the national head count during a coronavirus pandemic.
Later that day, President Trump suggested that Congress not have a pandemic of choice by approving an extension of the deadline.
“This is called an act of God,” Trump said. “It simply came to our notice then. They have to give it up. “
So far, only Democrats have introduced legislation to comply with the Presidency’s request.
On Wednesday, the Presidency quietly updated its website and removed the key link to 31 October, the previously announced end date of follow-up visits. The Presidency’s website now says that it is “working to complete the data collection as soon as possible, as it seeks to respect legal and legal deadlines”.
Arturo Vargas – CEO of the National Association of Education Funds for Elected and Appointed Latino Officials, which helps promote census participation, has described himself as “alarming.”
“We are concerned about what appears to be a waiver of the request for additional time, which has already been recognized by both the White House and the Census Bureau, and is needed for a full and accurate census,” Vargas said in a statement. “It is too late for the presidency to change course now, and further legislation on COVID-19 reliefs should reflect that.”
According to the Office’s updated website, the White House has requested an additional $ 1 billion to fund an “accelerated effort” to complete the “as quickly and safely as possible” count. In their proposal to provide assistance on Monday, Republicans in Congress offered less than half of that amount without extending the deadline.
During a hearing on Wednesday before the House Oversight Board, Steven Dillingham – the director of the office and named Trump – gave lawmakers a little idea of why the timing had changed.
Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., Repeatedly asked Dillingham if he supported the office’s request to extend the census deadlines.
But Dillingham did not answer the questions.
John Sarbanes, D-Md., Aware that the Trump administration allegedly wanted to wrap up the counts quickly so that the president could get census numbers by the end of the year, Dillingham replied: “I” I don’t know of all the many reasons except that the census and others really want us to move forward as quickly as possible. ‘ “
But top presidency officials – including Deputy Director of Field Operations Tim Olson – have publicly warned since May that the agency can no longer meet current deadlines.
Dillingham, spokesman for Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Said that “he cannot agree with Olson’s assessment. He noticed that the office had many more ratings ahead of it. “
“President Trump and Mitch McConnell are demanding that Americans fund their political manipulation of our democracy,” she said in a statement after the Rep. Carolyn Maloney, DN.Y., Chair of the House Supervision Committee. “Rushing the census to the end means that census staff will not have enough time to respond to non-responses, a necessary operation to find and count the most difficult communities to access.”
Office of Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. And the White House press office did not respond to the NRP’s request for an opinion.
The pandemic has forced the presidency to look for alternative posts for new recruits from the census, and the office expects public health concerns to increase the number of people who do not prove that they will be trained or work.
Postponing the deadline of 31 October for knocking on the door is likely to cause the census, which has already been accompanied by months of delay, deeper into confusion as hundreds of thousands of knockers try to figure out how to conduct face-to-face interviews as many states struggle with rising coronaviruses during hurricanes.
“This date means nothing to me after today,” a census official told the NRP on Wednesday, saying the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation by superiors for speaking out.
“It’s embarrassing because we discussed it in presentations and interviews with employees,” the official added. “I’m hurt they ‘suddenly’ changed their minds.”
News of the deadline for knocking the door to September 30 apparently did not reach all office staff by Thursday morning, when Jeff Behler, director of the New York office in New York, said during a press briefing that local censuses in New England, New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico were still expected to continue visiting unresponsive households until the end of October.
“Are we doing anything to speed up?” Behler said during a briefing organized by the Association for a Better New York. “I’d say no.”
On Wednesday, during an interrogation full of unanswered questions and answers to a roundabout of lawmakers’ questions, Dillingham certainly looked at least on one topic.
The director of the Census Bureau testified that he had learned for the first time about Trump’s plans to exclude unauthorized immigrants from census numbers used to redistribute seats in Congress, not from any internal discussions, but from “late Friday” news reports, “such a directive maybe he will. “
“I swear by the oath all day,” Dillingham said after Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s deputy, D-Fla., Who was looking into the distance in disbelief, reminded him that he was testifying under the oath.
Gomez, another member of the house who joined the remote hearing to question Dillingham, left the director of the office with a stern warning of stepping away from the camera.
“There seems to be an obvious model that you have no control over the Census Bureau,” Gomez said. “Your name will go down in history if it is the worst census the United States government has ever done. You will not run away and claim that it was only because of the Trump report later. You will be responsible. “