Andrew Harnik / AP
Updated 2:32 p.m. ET on Friday
The Census Bureau is lowering the short critical door to 2020. The NPR learned of the census, when Congressional Democrats are increasingly worried that the White House is putting pressure on the bureau to start counting political gains soon.
Attempts by office staff to record personal interviews will end on September 30th. – not on 31 October, April The specified end date will be needed to count every person living in the U.S. with significant failures. from a coronavirus pandemic. Three Census Bureau staff members who were informed of the plans during separate internal meetings on Thursday approved a new end date for the NPR. All employees spoke about the condition of anonymity for fear of losing their jobs.
“It will not be possible to count the census in time,” says one of the office staff, the area manager who oversees the local census offices. “I’m very afraid we’ll have a huge number.”
Asked why and when it was decided to move above the door knocking, the Census Bureau responded in a written statement on Friday: “We are currently assessing our efforts to enable the Census Bureau to provide this data in the most expeditious manner possible and will announce when these plans are met.”
About 4 in 10 households across the state still did not participate in every person living in the U.S. under the constitution, and in many communities, self-response rates are even lower.
This month, the office began deploying doors to visit unresponsive homes in certain parts of the country. Doors are expected to knock across the country on August 11th.
It is unclear how long households can submit census responses independently online, by telephone, and by mail. On the Bureau’s website, which was still listed on Thursday, October 31st. As of March. The end of the “self-defense phase” that has begun is now said to last until the end of the field data collection.
Reduced door knocking times increase the risk that many people of color, immigrants, and other historically underrated groups will be excluded from the figures collected once a decade to determine the number of seats in each state congress, electoral college votes, and approximately 1.5 trillion. per year in federal tax dollars for Medicare, Medicaid and other public services.
John Thompson, former director of the Census Bureau, warns that with less time for the bureau, the number of attempts by door knockers to gather information in person is likely to be reduced. The Agency may also need to rely more on statistical methods to calculate data on people living in households that they cannot reach.
“It simply came to our notice then [over-representation] the white non-Hispanic population and the larger population of all other populations, including those who are traditionally difficult to quantify, ”Thompson wrote at a census meeting in the House Maintenance and Reform Committee on Wednesday.
This last-minute schedule change to the largest and most expensive in 2020. The census operation on site occurs because the office publicly sends various signals about its plans to complete the count.
In April, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, the short-appointed person overseeing the bureau, asked Congress to extend the legal deadlines for reporting census results because the bureau said it needed extra time to complete the national population during a coronavirus pandemic.
On the same day, President Trump suggested that Congress had no choice but to approve an extension in light of the pandemic.
“It’s called an act of God,” Trump said. “It’s called a situation that has to be there. They have to give it.”
So far, only Democrats have passed laws to meet the bureau’s request.
On Wednesday, the office quietly updated its website and removed the main link to October 31, the previously announced end date for subsequent visits. The office’s website now says it is “trying to complete the data collection as soon as possible because it is trying to comply with laws and deadlines.”
Arturo Vargas, director general of the National Foundation for the Education of Elected and Appointed Officials, which helps promote participation in the census, called the update “alarming”.
“We are concerned about what appears to be a rejection of a request for additional time, which both the White House and the Census Bureau have already recognized the need for a comprehensive and accurate census,” Varga said in a statement. “It is now too late for the Bureau to change course, and other COVID-19 aid laws should reflect this reality.”
According to an updated office website, the White House has asked for an additional $ 1 billion to fund “accelerated efforts” to make the calculation “as fast and secure as possible.” In a proposal to provide aid on Monday, Republicans in Congress proposed less than half of that amount without an extension.
At a hearing before the House’s oversight committee on Wednesday, Steven Dillingham, the office’s director and Trump’s appointor, gave legislators little information as to why the time had changed.
Jimmy Gomez, a spokesman for the Republic of California, repeatedly asked Dillingham if he supported the bureau’s request to extend the census.
But Dillingham did not answer the questions.
Asked by the interim representative, John Sarbanes, if he knew that the Trump administration reportedly wanted to count the calculations quickly so that the president could get census distribution numbers by the end of the year, Dillingham replied, “I do.” I don’t know about all the many reasons, except when it has to be said that the census bureau and others really want us to move on as soon as possible. “
However, senior office career officials, including Tim Olson, associate director for field operations, have been publicly warning since May that the agency can no longer meet deadlines.
Under pressure from Richida Tlaib, D-Mich., Dillingham said he “could not agree” with Olson’s assessment, noting that the office had “even more assessments.”
“President Trump and Mick McConnell are demanding that the American people fund their political manipulation of our democracy,” Carolyn Maloney, DN.Y., spokeswoman for the House’s oversight committee, said after the hearing. “Closing the urgent census means the census staff won’t have enough time to respond to non-responses. It’s an essential operation to find and count the hardest-to-reach communities.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office, R-Ky, and the White House press service did not respond to NPR’s requests for comment.
The pandemic has forced the office to chew on finding alternative places to recruit newly recruited census staff, and the office hopes public health concerns will increase the number of people who do not show up to be trained or work.
By raising the end date for knocking on the door from October 31, the census, already caused by the late months, is likely to deepen into confusion as hundreds of thousands of office door knockers try to figure out how to conduct personal conversations. Many states are battling growing outbreaks of coronaviruses in the midst of a hurricane.
“This date means nothing to me after this day,” a census bureau official told the NPR on Wednesday, referring to the condition of anonymity, fearing revenge for the bosses for speaking out.
“It’s inconvenient because we discussed it in presentations and talks with staff,” the official added. “It hurts me that they ‘suddenly’ changed their minds.”
News on September 30th. The end date of the door knocking apparently had not been reached by all office staff by Thursday morning, when Jeff Behler, director of the office’s New York regional division, said in a press release that New England local census centers in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico were still to be visited by the end of October. in irresponsible households.
“Are we doing anything to speed it up?” Behler said during a briefing organized by the Better New York Association. “I would say definitely not.”
At a hearing on Wednesday with non-respondents and answers to questions from roundtable lawmakers, Dillingham seemed real on at least one topic.
The director of the Census Bureau testified that he first learned of Trump’s plans to try to exclude illegal immigrants from the census numbers used to distribute seats in Congress, not from any internal discussions, but from a “late Friday” news report saying “such a directive could be reduced “.
“I swear by it all day,” Dillingham said after spokesman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), Incredibly watching the remote video, reminded him he was testifying under oath.
Gomez, another member of the House who joined the hearing remotely to interrogate Dillingham before leaving the camera, left the office director with a stern warning.
“There seems to be a clear example that you don’t control the census office,” Gomez said. “Your name will pass in history if it is the worst census ever conducted by the United States government. You are not going to run away and say it only happened because of the Trump administration later. You will be responsible.”