The pandemic didn't help, but this moment has been a long time coming, and the delay is bad news for President Trump efforts to exclude undocumented immigrants from the count.
"The Census Bureau will reportedly miss its end-of-year deadline for the first time since the Dec. 31 date was set by Congress 40 years ago," reports Joseph Choi, building on previous reporting by the Associated Press.
The article frames the missed deadline in terms of the consequences for President Trump's efforts to exclude undocumented immigrants from the count. Now that the data won't be presented until after the inauguration, President-elect Biden "will have the ability to rescind Trump's directive that excluded people in the country without authorization from being considered when the number of congressional seats for states are being divvied up," according to Choi.
The deadline comes and goes without penalty, and it's never been a problem before. Margo Anderson, a historian with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is quoted in the article suggesting that the pandemic "and the Trump administration flip-flopping on its goals and its efforts to take the undocumented out of the apportionment count," might have contributed to the delay this year.
Planetizen documented the pandemic's impact on the decennial Census throughout the year, in addition to reports leading up the 2020 Census of dysfunction and controversy at the Census Bureau and the Department of Commerce since the Trump administration took office.
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