Department of Homeland Security Sharing Data With Census Bureau

Last summer, President Trump announced that the administration would abandon its effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census form after a legal battle that ended in the U.S. Supreme Court (Dep’t of Commerce v. New York, No. 18-966, Decided June 27, 2019). Two weeks later, the President ordered (E.O. 13880, July 11, 2019) the Census Bureau to instead compile citizenship data through existing government administrative records.

The DHS announcement appeared in “Federal Computer Week” (FCW):

“The Trump administration’s plan to include a citizenship question in the 2020 census questionnaire sent to every U.S. household was thwarted by a June 2019 Supreme Court ruling issued just days before a printing deadline. Just two weeks later, President Donald Trump issued an executive order to allow the Commerce Department on behalf of the Census Bureau to obtain federal agency data on immigration to generate data on the size of the immigrant population, including details on documentation and legal status from the 2020 census responses.”

The FCW article links to a DHS Privacy Impact Assessment for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Immigration-Related Information Sharing with U.S. Census Bureau  (DHS/ALL/PIA-079), December 20, 2019. It states that, pursuant to the President’s Executive Order, the Department of Homeland Security is providing the Census Bureau with existing “nonadministrative records,” to assist in determining the number of citizens, lawfully present non-citizens, and unauthorized immigrants in the United States by sharing “personally identifiable information (PII), with Census to (1) update 2020 Census person files, (2) produce Citizen Voting Age Population Statistics, and (3) conduct testing of citizenship models.”

The Executive Order also requires the Census Bureau to commit to releasing citizenship data by the end of March 2021, in time for the next round of redistricting.

Additional Reading:

Hansi Lo Wang, Latinx Advocacy Groups Sue to Block Citizenship Data Release by Trump Officials, NPR, Sept. 13, 2019.

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