Attorney says census count to determine congressional seats won’t be done until February
An attorney in President Trump’s administration said Monday that the census count to determine how many congressional seats each state gets will not be completed until February.
John Coghlan, a deputy assistant attorney general, said during a California court hearing that the Census Bureau has discovered new irregularities in its data, which is expected to delay the delivery of the data until after President-elect Joe Biden takes office, The Associated Press reported.
The postponement of census data delivery beyond Inauguration Day would dash Trump’s efforts to remove undocumented immigrants from the final count for states, thus reducing their representation in the House and their portion of allocated federal funding.
Coghlan, who spoke during a hearing for a federal lawsuit in San Jose, Calif., noted the numbers may not be finalized until later than the current Feb. 9 goal, adding that, “It’s a continuously moving target,” according to the AP.
This year marked the first time the Census Bureau missed its end-of-year deadline to complete its data finalization after its processing time was halved because of an extended collection period due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The census collection was originally scheduled to be completed at the end of July before the deadline was moved to the end of October. The bureau had requested for the data processing deadline to be extended to April 2021, but the matter stalled in the GOP-controlled Senate.
Coghlan testified as part of a lawsuit filed by several municipalities and advocacy groups against the administration, accusing officials of attempting to end the count before Oct. 31 to get the data processing done before Trump left office to ensure undocumented immigrants were excluded, according to the AP.
The plaintiffs argue that the administration rushed to complete the census and thus undercounted minority communities in the process. They are requesting the administration release data and documents to verify the accuracy of the census collection.
Several lawsuits challenged the president’s plan to leave undocumented immigrants out of the count, but the Supreme Court determined the objection was premature.