WASHINGTON (UPI) — The head of the U.S. Census would announce his resignation Monday, almost a year before he was to retire. This is amid a showdown over the Trump administration’s orders about the counting of undocumented U.S. residents.
In a resignation letter on his agency blog, Census Bureau Director Steve Dillingham praises U.S. Census employees who “made great sacrifices to continue our work” during the global pandemic.
Dillingham to end his term as Census director Wednesday
Dillingham said he would finish his term on Jan. 20, the day President-elect Joe Biden undergoes his swearing-in into office. He did not have to leave until the end of the year.
Democrats called for Dillingham’s ouster after a whistleblower reported last week that Dillingham was trying to pressure career census employees to rush out a report on undocumented immigrants in the United States and was offering financial incentives to get the job done quickly.
The U.S. Census is already behind schedule on the release of its official count of residents in the United States.
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The count every ten years is in use to apportion the number of U.S. congressional seats per state. It also helps to determine federal aid for schools, housing, and other federal services.
Controversies surrounding the Bureau
Last summer, the Donald Trump administration issued Executive Order 13880, which demanded that the census not count residents who were not U.S. citizens. The move was a way to damage congressional representation in states with large cities. This representation was something that Trump would criticize as Democratic strongholds.
In December, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the executive order, dismissing a lawsuit brought by 23 state’s attorneys to halt the order.
Trump also pressured the Census administration workers to stop census data collection early, which the high court also upheld.
Dillingham’s early departure from the bureau means he is leaving before incoming President-elect Biden has a chance to fire him.
Reporting by Jean Lotus
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