US Department of Homeland Security officials will share individual citizenship data with the Census Bureau, according to a recent privacy notice from the department.
It’s an undertaking assigned by President Donald Trump, who last summer announced the administration would abandon its effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census form after a legal battle that ended up in the Supreme Court.
Trump ordered the Census Bureau to compile citizenship data through existing government data, known as administrative records.
The records from US Citizenship and Immigration Services and Customs and Border Protection will match up with other demographic data the Census Bureau and Commerce Department capture on each citizen and individual in the country.
The expected result is detailed statistics on where voting age citizens live. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that in the 2010 Census, officials were able to match administrative records with 88.6% of the population. A similar rate would leave about 27 million people for whom the Census Bureau must make an estimated guess about citizenship status.
The Justice Department requested the data to enforce voting protections. But disclosures in lawsuits revealed the involvement of a consultant who found re-drawing congressional districts while taking into account citizenship would be “advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.”
The administrative records are also being challenged in a lawsuit that accuses the President and Ross of being “motivated by a racially discriminatory scheme to reduce Latino political representation and increase the overrepresentation of non-Latino Whites, thereby advantaging White voters at Latino voters’ expense.” The government has asked a federal court to dismiss that lawsuit.
The DHS notice was first reported by the website Federal Computer Week.
It was published in mid-December and says there is “no opportunity to consent to sharing or opt out of having an individual’s information shared.” Census officials face prosecution for sharing an individual’s personal data or making other unauthorized disclosures.