In the last days of the Trump administration, Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham has pressured employees at the agency to speed up the production of a data report about noncitizens, including unauthorized immigrants, the bureau’s internal watchdog group says.
Dillingham, a Trump appointee, directed career civil servants to make the technical report “a number one priority” and considered offering a financial incentive to employees in order to finish by Friday, days before the end of Trump’s term, according to a memo released Tuesday by the inspector general’s office at the Commerce Department, which oversees the bureau.
The watchdog group says multiple whistleblowers at the bureau expressed concern that the bureau has not had enough time to prepare a report and run quality checks on the data. They are worried that “incomplete data could be misinterpreted, misused, or otherwise tarnish the Bureau’s reputation.”
“One senior Bureau employee went as far to say that this work is statistically indefensible,” according to the memo, which notes that the Friday deadline “may no longer be in effect.”Article continues after sponsor message
The Census Bureau’s public information office did not immediately respond to NPR’s request for comment.
The revelation comes a day after the Trump administration disclosed to a federal judge that the bureau is still “diligently” trying to fix irregularities in the 2020 census records that, along with the coronavirus pandemic, have postponed the once-a-decade process for using census results to reapportion congressional seats and Electoral College votes among the states.