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Census Bureau Won't Be Allowed To Hire Non-Citizens As Census Workers

by Countable | 2.3.18

What’s the story?

In order to ensure the accuracy of the Census, in recent years the federal government has allowed the hiring of non-citizen legal residents when necessary to conduct the count. Despite a strong job market and resulting hiring shortfalls, the Census Bureau has been informed they will no longer be allowed to hire non-citizens to work on the 2020 count.

According to the Constitution, a count of all the resident population of the United States shall happen every 10 years, citizens and non-citizens alike, for the purposes of apportioning congressional representation and federal funds to adequately meet the needs of the nation.

Conducting the count in immigrant communities can be challenging given language barriers and fears of law or immigration enforcement personnel. The Census Bureau has been given waivers to hire non-citizen legal residents who are known and trusted members of their communities when there are no citizens in the community available to help with the count.

As the ramp up to the 2020 count escalates, many concerns have emerged about the potential success of the count. Funding cuts have forced test counts to be canceled or delayed, and a proposal by the Department of Justice to add a question about immigration status has alarmed immigrant advocates who believe it will discourage participation in immigrant communities.

Census records were used to locate citizen and non-citizen residents of Japanese descent to move them to internment camps during WWII. That history, combined with the Trump administration’s focus on detaining and deporting illegal immigrants whether or not they have committed other crimes, has prompted fear in immigrant communities of being targeted, which could depress the count.

Non-citizen legal residents have been a small fraction of the Census workforce. In 2010 they were 3,487 out of 857,185, a fraction of one percent, according to the Washington Post. But the Census Bureau felt the benefit of their presence for the count should be considered again in 2020:

"to ensure that hiring flexibilities are used strategically to fill key census positions with employees with critical skills and increase the applicant pool in hard-to-recruit areas."

What do you think?

Are you concerned about the Census, whether because of funding or because of issues around immigrant involvement? Should the Census Bureau be allowed to hire non-citizen legal residents to aid the success of the count in immigrant communities?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: USDA via Flickr / Creative Commons)

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Written by Countable

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(146)
  • Donna
    02/02/2018
    ···

    NON-CITIZEN RESIDENTS of this nation are in this country legally and have the same protections as citizens - they just can't vote, and they have to renew their green card every few years. This action is, unfortunately, predictable. Interesting that DJT can hire NON-RESIDENT TEMPORARY workers to staff his club in FL, but the Census Bureau cannot hire PERMANENT non-citizens to conduct a CONSTITUTIONALLY-MANDATED census. This restriction is probably unconstitutional since every legal resident HAS THE RIGHT TO WORK. This administration is so out of control it would be laughable if it were not so dangerous. I would like to know how Sessions justifies this stupid decision, besides the whole racist, immigrant-hating views he exhibits in every decision he makes.

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  • Brittany
    02/03/2018
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    I’m concerned about the upcoming US census being conducted under the trump administration and I think it should be monitored closely and transparently to ensure the facts are not skewed, as is customary for this administration. There needs to be more awareness of the census and the process of conducting it as it effects a huge amount of things that affect american’s every day life, like funding and representation. I don’t think the process should be hidden from public view. We have a right to know what and how the trump administration is trying to skew it to their advantage.

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  • Darby
    02/03/2018
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    Absolutely, they are legally able to work here why can’t they help with the census. It will help us get an accurate count in immigrant communities.

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  • Julia
    02/02/2018
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    Not only are non-citizen residents LEGAL, they have a right to work, they are just unable to vote. The accuracy and successful completion of the census is important because it is a determining factor in representation, and electoral college weight. If entire portions of our population are not accurately recorded in the census, our voting rolls, voting districts, and electoral college representation are all affected. I've asked my elected officials in Congress to do their jobs to ensure that the census is funded correctly and is executed with integrity and accuracy. I hope you contact your MoC's too!

    Like (37)
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  • Gerald
    02/03/2018
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    This bans non-citizens from working on the census. Illegal residents have never been allowed. Non citizens are people here legally who are not citizens. The census count determines the House of Representatives distributions to states. It is critical it be accurate. Republicans want the count in blue states to be underreported so they can steal seats in the house and use the census to give them to red states. What’s next? Answering who you voted for? Are you loyal? Do you believe there were three million people voting illegally? Hire legal residents based on who can do the best job and save our democracy.

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  • Robert
    02/02/2018
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    Only Trump can hire noncitizens to work in his resorts.

    Like (27)
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  • Kristen
    02/03/2018
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    Stupid. Manufactured crisis. I long for sanity to return to this dumbed-down country.

    Like (23)
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  • Ronda
    02/03/2018
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    Non-citizen green card holders are LEGAL. This action is nothing more than Republican racism. I have less than zero faith that the Trump administration will conduct the 2020 census in a fair, accurate, and non-partisan way. As a matter of fact, I’m completely convinced that they will lie, cheat, and falsify. The question is will Congress hold him to account? This Congress will not. A Republican controlled congress will never check him. They benefit from his lies and divisiveness. EVERY REPUBLICAN MUST BE VOTED OUT. Enough is enough. Vote Democratic 2018.

    Like (22)
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  • Nona
    02/02/2018
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    Accurate data is required and I am concerned the census will not be able to provide it. If qualified citizens can’t be found for certain areas, then use of non-citizen legal residents who already have authorization to work in US should be considered and hired. My language and cultural ignorance would make me unsuited to work census in many communities; people who bridge the gaps and stand with “a foot in each canoe” are in some cases a necessary tool to obtain accurate data.

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  • groundgame
    02/03/2018
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    Restrictions on the hiring of non-citizen legal residents to conduct the Census, like voter ID laws, seems like a backdoor method to prevent immigrant communities from being counted by eliminating a set of applicants who would likely be more qualified to elicit accurate responses from non-English speakers. I want to see every American counted and the most qualified person hired.

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  • ManfromNebraska
    02/02/2018
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    It only makes sense to not hire ILLEGALS to work for the census. It is ILLEGAL! LEGAL immigrants are certainly welcome to come and work.

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  • Jan
    02/03/2018
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    The trump administration already removed #LGBT categories for the 2020 Census Report so this doesn’t surprise me at all. He’s destroying and dismissing any and all minority groups he can get away with.

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  • RickEberhardt
    02/02/2018
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    The census bureau must be the only ones not hiring them then. Eleven million illegal immigrants supposedly living in the USA but nobody is hiring them. They supposedly don’t receive anything through welfare, food stamps, nor Medicaid. How do they all survive?

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  • John
    02/02/2018
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    Don’t be so petty and stupid. Soon we will be Trumplandia and all be singing Doucheland Uber Alles. (Yes, the spelling is correct.)

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  • Michael
    02/03/2018
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    The end of globalism and start of patriotism. American workers come first.

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  • Leon
    02/03/2018
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    If there are veterans out of work why are we not prioritizing them? Or those that are receiving assistance?

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  • Richard
    02/04/2018
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    Every noncitizen who works anywhere takes a job away from a citizen who can do the job and should have right of first refusal. Most comments here are quite ignorant. Thank God for President Trump who recognizes the problems from the previous bum directives.

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  • Peter
    02/03/2018
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    If you have the legal eligibility to work in the US you should be able to work for the census bureau.

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  • VGONZALEZT
    02/03/2018
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    By GOD save the jobs for us!

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  • Elizabeth
    02/03/2018
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    There isn’t a good reason to not hire non-citizens for the census. Even legal immigrants on the path to citizenship would not be qualified. This is a blatant attempt to underfund ethnic areas and cities by the GOP.

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