ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

heavy-rain-night
85°
Partly Cloudy
H 93° L 75°
  • heavy-rain-night
    85°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 93° L 75°
  • cloudy-day
    76°
    Morning
    Partly Cloudy. H 93° L 75°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day
    88°
    Afternoon
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 89° L 75°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest newscast

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

National Govt & Politics
Trump citizenship plan will face logistical, legal hurdles
Close

Trump citizenship plan will face logistical, legal hurdles

Trump citizenship plan will face logistical, legal hurdles
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Alex Brandon
President Donald Trump arrives with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Attorney General William Barr to speak about the 2020 census in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, Thursday, July 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Trump citizenship plan will face logistical, legal hurdles

After failing to get his citizenship question on the census, President Donald Trump now says his fallback plan will provide an even more accurate count — determining the citizenship of 90 percent of the population "or more." But his plan will likely be limited by logistical hurdles and legal restrictions.

Trump wants to distill a massive trove of data across seven government agencies — and possibly across 50 states. It's far from clear how such varying systems can be mined, combined and compared.

He directed the Commerce Department, which manages the census, to form a working group.

"The logistical barriers are significant, if not insurmountable," said Paul Light, a senior fellow of Governance Studies at New York University with a long history of research in government reform. "The federal government does not invest, and hasn't been investing for a long time, in the kind of data systems and recruitment of experts that this kind of database construction would require."

Trump says he aims to answer how many people are here illegally, though there already are recent estimates , and possibly use such information to divvy up congressional seats based on citizenship. It's also a way for Trump to show his base that he's not backing down (even as he's had to back down) from a battle over the question on his signature topic, immigration.

The administration faced challenges last year when it was tasked by a federal judge with quickly creating a system to track migrant families that had been separated by immigration officials. They found agency systems weren't compatible.

"Information-sharing is not a habit of federal agencies," Light said.

Trump's plan is aimed at yet-again circumventing legal challenges on an immigration related matter, as courts have barred him from inquiring about citizenship on the 2020 census. But it could spark further legal action, depending on what his administration intends to do with the citizenship information.

His executive order announced Thursday requires highly detailed information, including national-level files of all lawful permanent residents, Customs and Border arrival and departure data and Social Security Administration master beneficiary records. Plus information on Medicaid and children's health systems and refugee and asylum visas.

The order states that "generating accurate data concerning the total number of citizens, non-citizens and illegal aliens in the country has nothing to do with enforcing immigration laws against particular individuals," and that information would be used "solely to produce statistics" and would not be used to "bring immigration enforcement actions against particular individuals."

Dale Ho, the director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project who argued the citizenship question case at the Supreme Court, said the main privacy concern now would be disclosure of individuals' citizenship status.

Federal law bars the Census Bureau from disclosing an individual's responses to the census. But Ho said that if the bureau can produce citizenship information in small geographical bites, it could inadvertently expose a person's citizenship status.

The bureau has methods in place that are designed to prevent such disclosures, but "we don't know enough yet to know the answers," Ho said.

In March, the Associated Press reported that even before the outcome of the census question litigation, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which maintains some of the requested data, had been working on a data-sharing agreement that would give census access to names, addresses, birth dates and places, as well as Social Security numbers and alien registration numbers.

The possibilities worried immigrant rights advocates, especially given Trump's hardline stance on immigration.

Samantha Artiga, a Medicaid expert with the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, said she is concerned that Trump's directive will discourage some immigrants from applying for health benefits they'd be entitled to.

"It is likely that this policy will further enhance already heightened fears among families about applying for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program for lawfully present immigrants or citizen children in immigrant families, potentially leading to fall-offs in coverage," she said.

But to some degree, Trump's directive reflects what was already being put into place before the controversy about a citizenship question on the census. The Census Bureau had stressed that it could produce better citizenship data without adding the question and had recommended combining information from the annual American Community Survey with records held by other federal agencies that already include citizenship records. The survey polls 3.5 million U.S. households and includes questions about citizenship.

"It's a retreat back to what he should have done from the beginning," said Kenneth Prewitt, a former Census Bureau director.

Transferring the data from other agencies to the Census Bureau is not necessarily difficult, but some, like Customs arrivals data, contain hundreds of millions of entries and it will take time to compile, maybe years. Getting the information to match up with census data will be the main challenge.

Prewitt said government records tend to be highly accurate for some purposes and less so for others. It's essential for the Social Security Administration, for instance, to know the age of Americans accurately, but it isn't as concerned with addresses.

According to a 2018 report, the Census Bureau already has access to data from the IRS, Social Security, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Postal Service, the Selective Service System, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Indian Health Service. The agency also gets data from some states that administer federal programs such as food stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the Women, Infants, and Children nutrition program.

Virtually all federal social programs are open only to citizens or to immigrants who have been lawfully present for at least five years.

"I think the executive order will just hurry up negotiations about data-sharing that are already in the works," said Julia Gelatt, a senior policy analyst with the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute think tank.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who is in charge of the Census Bureau, insisted on adding the citizenship question and a legal challenge ensued, ending with a ruling by the Supreme Court temporarily barring its inclusion on the grounds that the government's justification was insufficient.

He had offered multiple explanations for why he believed the question was necessary to include in the once-a-decade population count that determines the allocation of seats in the House of Representatives for the next 10 years and the distribution of some $675 billion in federal spending.

Even after the Supreme Court ruled against him, Trump insisted he was pushing forward, contradicting government lawyers and Ross, who had conceded the case was closed, as well as the Census Bureau, which had started printing the 2020 questionnaire without the controversial query.

Trump toyed with the idea of halting the constitutionally-mandated survey entirely while the court battle played out. But by Thursday evening, he gave up on including the question in the census and announced the executive order.

___

Associated Press Writer Geoff Mulvihill in Trenton, New Jersey contributed to this report.

Read More

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • President Trump continues his public criticism of House democrats Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar. He tweets, “The “Squad” is a very Racist group of troublemakers who are young, inexperienced, and not very smart. They are pulling the once great Democrat Party far left, and were against humanitarian aid at the Border...And are now against ICE and Homeland Security. So bad for our Country!” These comments come after President Trump last week said those four freshman House Democrats should 'go back to the crime infested places' from which they came. This also comes after a crowd at a Trump campaign rally in North Carolina chanted 'send her back.
  • A California woman and her boyfriend have been charged in connection with their newborn son’s death after investigators learned they strangled the boy at the hospital shortly after he was born, authorities said. Andrea Torralba, 20, and David Villa, 21, both of Oxnard, are being held in the Ventura County Jail on suspicion of felony assault on a child causing death, Oxnard Police Department officials said. Jail records show Villa, who is described as a field worker, is being held in lieu of $5 million. ABC 7 in Los Angeles reported that Torralba’s bail was set at $1 million. >> Read more trending news  Oxnard police investigators said officers were called just before 8 a.m. Friday to St. John’s Medical Center, where they learned a newborn boy was in critical condition with serious injuries. The boy was found unresponsive and despite all medical efforts, he died of his injuries. Detectives from the department’s Family Protection Unit learned that Torralba and Villa strangled the newborn until he lost consciousness, police officials said. Oxnard police Sgt. Brandon Ordelheide told ABC 7 that the couple, when questioned by detectives, admitted they did not want the baby. Both were arrested and charged in the boy’s death.
  • Police have apprehended an Ohio man accused of stabbing and setting fire to two women in a Willoughby Hills home before leaving with three young children, authorities said. >> Read more trending news  According to WEWS-TV, 27-year-old Allen Crawford bound, stabbed and burned the women – one of whom is the mother of his children – Saturday afternoon at the Willoughby Hills Towers, police said. He then fled the scene with the children, who are 2, 4 and 5 years old, authorities said. Shortly after 5 p.m., one woman broke free and called police, the TV station reported. Both women, who suffered critical injuries, were flown to a nearby hospital, authorities said. Crawford took the children to his mother's Cleveland home before turning himself in around 9 p.m., police told WEWS. All three were safe.  Information about what charges Crawford may face was not immediately available. Read more here.
  • A tropical wave churning off shore has a low chance of developing further into a tropical system this upcoming week. This system could potentially bring a surge in moisture to Florida.  Considering its position, movement and forward speed, this tropical wave is expected to be near or at our latitude by Tuesday.  As for Monday's forecast, WFTV Channel 9 meteorologist Brian Shields said there's 50 percent chance of scattered rain and storms, mainly in the afternoon. The high temperature will still be toasty, clocking in at 93. By Tuesday, the few models currently available forecast the tropical system to be parallel to Central Florida. How close to Central Florida will it be? That will all depend on the high pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean.  Currently, we are monitoring this wave closely. The wave seems to be moving fast toward Florida, not giving it time to further develop as it gets close to Florida. We can expect high rain chances to start the week, especially Tuesday.  Temperatures will remain seasonably hot, with highs in the low 90s and lows in the mid-70s.
  • Bud Light is getting on the fun surrounding the 'Area 51 raid' that's been in the news recently. First, the brand distanced itself, tweeting, 'We'd like to be the first brand to formally announce that we will not be sponsoring the Area 51 raid' early last week. But on Thursday (July 17th) Bud Light changed its tune, tweeting, 'Screw it. Free Bud Light to any alien that makes it out.' They followed that by announcing a special edition beer, the Area 51 Special Edition. The top of the can reads, 'Greetings Earthlings. This is the famous Area 51. We know of no space beer by any other life form which is brewed and aged to be more refreshing. Our cryogenic aging produces a light-bodied space lager with a fresh tastes, a crisp, clean finish, and a smooth drinkability. Take us to your leader...for drinks.

Washington Insider

  • In a dramatic expansion of a process known as 'expedited removal' of illegal immigrants in the United States, the Trump Administration will start applying that everywhere in the United States - to anyone who has been in the U.S. illegally for less than two years - as critics quickly said they would challenge the change in federal court. 'The effect of that change will be to enhance national security and public safety,' the Department of Homeland Security states in a new rule set to go into effect on Tuesday, which the notice says will allow 'DHS to address more effectively and efficiently the large volume of aliens who are present in the United States unlawfully.' Up until this change, expedited removal was only used for illegal immigrants who were detained within 100 miles of the border - now it can be enforced anywhere in the U.S. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Trump Administration argues the Acting Homeland Security Secretary has the 'sole and unreviewable discretion' to change 'the scope of the expedited removal designation,' shifting it from the 100 mile policy to one that applies nationwide. Critics denounced the immigration policy change, with some vowing to challenge the move in court. 'One of the major problems with expedited removal is that the immigration officer making the decision virtually has unchecked authority,' said the American Immigration Council, as the process does not involve an immigration judge or any type of court hearing. 'We will sue to end this policy quickly,' said Omar Jadwat of the American Civil Liberties Union, who charged that deportations could occur with 'less due process than people get in traffic court.' 'This is a massive and dangerous change,' said Aaron Reichlin-Melnick of the American Immigration Council, which is joining in the ACLU legal challenge to the new policy. The announcement marked the second straight week that the Trump Administration had rolled out a new immigration policy - last Monday, the feds announced a new plan to restrict asylum claims by migrants from Central America. Those plans are also facing a legal challenge from the ACLU and other groups.