Census Issues “Interim” Policy Change

Washington, DC, Sept. 1–On August 30, ADC representatives joined Census Bureau Director Louis Kincannon on a conference call to discuss the release of data about Arab Americans by the Census Bureau.  A representative from the Arab American Institute and an Arab American decennial census advisory committee member were also on the conference call as well as other senior level Census representatives.
Director Kincannon announced a policy change. To read the Census’s press release Click here. The Census Bureau already has senior-level approval procedures for special tabulations that agency provides for which it is paid.  The new “interim” procedure, effective immediately, extends to requests for which the agency is not paid.  During the call, Director Kincannon indicated that an interim policy is subject to change based on “societal concerns.”
Kincannon clarified that any future request would be reviewed the appropriate Associate Director.  According to their press release, “Whenever the Census Bureau provides assistance, employees should, to the extent possible, attempt to learn the name and affiliation of the requestor.  If it is determined that the requestor is a law enforcement or intelligence agency and or the request involves a sensitive population, the employee will inform the requestor that the request must be reviewed and approved by senior staff.”
ADC “thanks Director Kincannon for responding to the community’s concerns but ADC is still troubled by many unanswered questions including the criteria to be used in determining whether an Associate Director will comply with requests of these types.” Additionally, “while the interim procedure is a good step, it falls short of restoring the public’s trust and allaying fears of racial profiling generated by this incident.”  ADC will be working with the Decennial Census Advisory Committee in raising these issues again at their October meeting.
Additionally, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14), former Ranking Member of the House Census Subcommittee, says that the “Census Bureau’s mission is to provide our country with statistics, not to assist in law enforcement – an action that could compromise the cooperation of the American people in conducting the Census in the future.” Maloney added, “Don’t be fooled, the Census Bureau hasn’t halted this practice, they’ve merely added a bureaucratic speed bump. The Bureau should not be doing this at all.” To read Rep. Maloney’s press release see: Click here

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