The Note: White House census stance makes immigrants’ fears worse

March 28, 2018, 5:55 AM

The TAKE with MaryAlice Parks

The White House yesterday could have tried to allay the fears of immigrants, civil right activists, and Democrats worried that the last-minute addition to the 2020 census -- a question on citizenship -- will significantly dampen immigrant participation.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders could have said the White House wants everyone, regardless of status, to still participate. After all, the law dictates that the federal government try to count everyone, not just citizens.

She could have reminded people of another law, too, that says census data cannot be shared with any other government agency, or she could have said plainly that people will not be deported based on the data. She could have added that the White House wants a fair and accurate count to make sure inner cities and blue states are not essentially cheated out of federal funding if people are too nervous to open their doors to census workers.

But she didn’t.

Instead she talked about needing citizenship data to essentially fight other claims of voter fraud or misrepresentation. In a way, she brought the theme of mistrust into the conversation.

The fact is, adding this question may not have set off the political firestorm it did if so many immigrants, even those with some legal status, did not already feel skeptical of this administration and vulnerable.

The RUNDOWN with Emily Goodin

Another big question coming out of the decision to include citizenship status on the 2020 census is how it will affect the congressional reapportionment process.

That is the main point of the census: to determine how the 435 House seats are distributed throughout the country.

Democrats are expected to take the biggest hit – concerned that the citizenship question will suppress the participation of non-citizens, who tend to be minorities who reside in urban areas.

And their biggest, most shocking loss would be in the blue state of California, which would likely lose its first House seat in its 160-year history.

Illinois could also lose a seat, especially if there’s an undercount of non-citizens in urban areas, including Chicago or Aurora, which have large immigrant populations.

But purple states and red states could also be affected, particularly ones in the south and southwest with large numbers of immigrants.

Arizona and Colorado were predicted to gain a House seat after the 2020 census; that could change, leaving both states at their current numbers.

Texas was predicted to get two or three seats in a post-census map. The Lone Star State could end up with only one of those. And Florida, predicted to gain two seats, could go down to one.

Since states draw their own redistricting maps, it would be up to each to determine the new House district lines and, therefore, how any reapportionment would affect individual Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

That means this one decision by Trump’s Commerce Department could result in years of political battles to come.

The TIP with Alexander Mallin

This will mark the fifth day in a row that the president has not had any events open for press coverage on his public schedule, but yesterday evening Trump dined with supporters at the McLean, Va., home of real estate developer Giuseppe Cecchi.

While the dinner was not billed as a fundraiser, the New York Times described it as "part of a series of events intended to cultivate donors" to support the outsider groups bundling for Trump-backed candidates in the 2018 midterms.

Brian Walsh, president of the America First Action SuperPAC said in a statement to ABC: “America First Action is extremely honored to host President Trump as our special guest, along with supporters and friends of our organization. These events are not fundraisers for America First Action or any other entity."

In a separate statement, White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters said, "This dinner is not a fundraiser, no funds have been solicited."


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