Patterico's Pontifications

7/12/2019

Trump’s EO to Obtain Data on Everyone’s Status (UPDATED)

Filed under: Government,Immigration — DRJ @ 6:40 am



[Headlines from DRJ]

Following up on Trump Surrenders on Census Change, NPR reports:

President Trump announced Thursday he would sign an executive order to obtain data about the U.S. citizenship and noncitizenship status of everyone living in the United States.

In a Rose Garden ceremony, Trump said he would drop efforts to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census. Instead, his executive order will direct all U.S. agencies to provide the Department of Commerce all information they have on U.S. citizenship, noncitizenship and immigration status.

Might this data include driver’s license photos?

Civil rights activists complained Monday of the potential for widespread abuse following confirmation that at least three states have scanned millions of driver’s license photos on behalf of Immigration and Customs Enforcement without the drivers’ knowledge or consent.

Public records obtained by the Georgetown Law Center on Privacy and Technology provided the first proof that ICE had sought such scans, which were conducted in Utah, Vermont and Washington.

All three states — which offer driving privileges to immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally — agreed to the ICE requests, according to documents shared with The Associated Press on Monday and first reported by The Washington Post.

Twelve states and the District of Columbia allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.

In addition:

Twenty-one states and Washington, D.C., let the FBI access their drivers’ license and identification photos, according to a Government Accountability Office report published last month. The report said the FBI currently has access to 640 million photos — including for U.S. visa applicants — with more than 390,000 photos searched for matches since 2011, the year the agency augmented its fingerprint database with facial analysis.

What other information does the government already have, and do you think there should be a limit on the government using this information?

UPDATE: Asking a Census question may or may not have been the best way to get answers:

The Census Bureau currently asks about citizenship status on the American Community Survey, a yearly survey involving about one in 38 households. But research by the bureau suggests asking all U.S. households about citizenship status could discourage noncitizens from taking part in the national head count and harm the accuracy of the population counts used to redistribute congressional seats and Electoral College votes among the states once a decade.

Still, Ross overruled those warnings, as well as a suggestion by Census Bureau officials to forgo the question and instead compile existing government records about citizenship status. In a memo prepared for Ross, the bureau’s chief scientist said that alternative would be less expensive and produce more accurate citizenship data for Voting Rights Act enforcement.

The memo reviews three possible approaches — no change, adding a Census question, or obtaining existing data from government records — and discusses the costs and benefits of all three.

— DRJ

12 Responses to “Trump’s EO to Obtain Data on Everyone’s Status (UPDATED)”

  1. What other information does the government already have, and do you think there should be a limit on the government using this information?

    The only way I think this would be kosher is to ensure that the Census folks treat these data with the same level of privacy concerns as data gleaned from the census itself.

    Which I would think so… as, other departments are prohibited from accessing census data.

    whembly (51f28e)

  2. Whatever limits should or shouldn’t be put on the data, I think giving it to the census for broad statistical abstracts to support policymaking is well within them.

    Ray (7e810f)

  3. I updated the post.

    DRJ (15874d)

  4. The Census may not have been the BEST way, but it was the President’s call to make. NOT a Federal District Judge. How many injunctions have Federal District Judges issued against Trump. Its seems like over 20. How many were issued against Obama? One? Two? Of course “Muh Conservatives” are A-OK with this judicial overreach.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  5. President Trump announced Thursday he would sign an executive order to obtain data about the U.S. citizenship and noncitizenship status of everyone living in the United States.

    In a Rose Garden ceremony, Trump said he would drop efforts to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census. Instead, his executive order will direct all U.S. agencies to provide the Department of Commerce all information they have on U.S. citizenship, noncitizenship and immigration status.

    So I guess “enforcing the Voting Rights Act” really was a pretext, just like the courts said, eh?

    Dave (1bb933)

  6. I say, option 3, get the info from existing government documents. I’m sorry, but the government has the right to know if you are a citizen or not if you are filing tax returns under a SS number, getting food stamps, filing for disability. In fact, the left may regret objecting to the census question.

    The alternative is that citizenship itself should be abolished.

    Patricia (3363ec)

  7. I wonder if courts will now have a basis to look into and limit any data mining, in light of how the Commerce Department has mishandled the Census question. Secretary Ross and others may still be deposed in the pending cases, and I also wonder if the plaintiffs will be allowed to ask about the new tactic.

    DRJ (15874d)

  8. According to the New York Times, the Census Department collects a lot of data but it doesn’t release the same thing as what it gets and it would be a violation of federal law to release anything to anybody that has any personally identifying detail.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/11/us/politics/census-executive-action.html

    While the Census Bureau would effectively have data on the citizenship status of most people in the country, the only information that could be released under federal law would be stripped of any identifying details, said Barbara Anderson, a University of Michigan demographer and past chairwoman of the Census Bureau’s Scientific Advisory Committee.

    (Well, for 72 years anyway)

    In some way or another the Census results for the years up to 1880 were made public. The 1890 Census was destroyed in a fire in 1921. In 1970, the Census Bureau reached some agreement with geneologist or whatever to make the 1900 Census public in 1972, and the same schedule has been followed every ten years since so that now the 1940 Census is public, and the 1950 Census will be made available in three years. The information is not sworn to.

    Sammy Finkelman (8b217f)

  9. From the NYT article:

    The United States has never had a central registry of citizens and noncitizens, and in theory Mr. Trump’s order could result in one. But data sharing is supposed to go only in one direction: from other agencies into the Census Bureau but not back out.

    The Census Bureau for decades has relied on data from other agencies to check the accuracy of their head counts. For the purposes of obtaining citizenship data, the Census Bureau could identify American citizens with some precision by mining immigration data from the federal Citizenship and Immigration Services agency, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, and data from programs that require citizenship to participate, such as Social Security numbers and some taxpayer identification numbers. Other citizenship data come from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, which asks a small fraction of the population questions — including on citizenship — every month.

    Although noncitizens often falsely respond that they are citizens on the survey, data from other agencies would help weed out those responses. That would provide a reasonably accurate portrayal of citizenship even down to census blocks, the bureau’s smallest population unit, said John Thompson, who ran the bureau from 2013 to 2017.

    Sammy Finkelman (8b217f)

  10. More:

    Even anonymous statistics that might help outsiders identify someone — such as data on some census blocks as small as apartment houses — are scrambled in a process designed to guarantee confidentiality.

    “It’s all extremely protected by privacy laws,” Ms. Anderson said. “Even if the Census Bureau put together administrative records on citizens and noncitizens on an individual basis” — which would not necessarily be compiled into some sort of central registry — “for that to be given to anybody would require a major new law.”

    The Census Bureau has said that it intends to provide anonymous data on citizenship to states in 2021, in a data file separate from census results.

    Sammy Finkelman (8b217f)

  11. But research by the bureau suggests asking all U.S. households about citizenship status could discourage noncitizens from taking part in the national head count and harm the accuracy of the population counts used to redistribute congressional seats and Electoral College votes among the states once a decade.

    One is tempted to wonder if that wasn’t the point of the exercise all along.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  12. One is tempted to wonder if that wasn’t the point of the exercise all along.

    According to the Democrats, that’s exactly what it was (and would logically apply to their opposition to the question as well).

    But
    Twenty-one states and Washington, D.C., let the FBI access their drivers’ license and identification photos, according to a Government Accountability Office report published last month. The report said the FBI currently has access to 640 million photos — including for U.S. visa applicants — with more than 390,000 photos searched for matches since 2011, the year the agency augmented its fingerprint database with facial analysis.

    I’ve always said that any truly effective enforcement of immigration laws as they now stand would mean living in a police state. Perhaps that’s a bit hyperbolic, but it certainly would require immense government intrustion into privacy and everyday living.

    kishnevi (496414)


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