JULY 15, 2020
Four states have reportedly signed agreements with the Trump administration and will provide the U.S. Census Bureau with information from state driver’s license rolls in an effort to help the federal government accurately count who’s a citizen.
NPR reported that South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and South Carolina have all signed agreements with the federal government in recent months to provide varying amounts of information from state databases to the Trump administration.
The shared data will not directly include citizenship `information, NPR reported, but will include other identifying information such as names, dates of birth, height and eye color that federal authorities plan to cross-reference with other databases in order to determine the citizenship of individuals.
At least one state’s agreement, South Dakota’s, specifically forbids federal authorities from using the data for “administrative enforcement.” Other states, including Pennsylvania, reportedly denied the government’s request entirely, citing state law.
“All data that the state program agency agrees to provide the Census Bureau remains confidential,” reads the agreement with South Dakota, which goes on to state that data can be used for “statistical purposes and not for program or administrative enforcement.”
Whether any of the data will make it into the hands of law enforcement is unclear; however, the Census Bureau plans to release data to states on numbers of citizens and non-citizens living in the U.S. in 2021. States will then be able to draw district lines based on more accurate counts of eligible voters in an area.
The efforts by the Trump administration to provide states with an accurate count of citizens and undocumented immigrants comes following Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s failed bid to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
At the time, President Trump declared that his administration was “not backing down on our effort to determine the citizenship status of the United States population.”
Courtesy/Source: The Hill