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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.


On Tuesday, a federal judge flatly rejected the Trump administration’s racist attempt to insert a question about citizenship status into the 2020 census.

Judge Jesse M. Furman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross committed “egregious” violations of the law when he made the “arbitrary and capricious” decision to add the citizenship question.

Asking about citizenship would likely make the census less accurate, because it would discourage many immigrants from returning their census forms. Undercounting minority communities on the census would hurt those communities on a variety of fronts, from congressional representation to funding for roads and schools.

It could also give Republicans an unfair political advantage. If the citizenship question is allowed on the 2020 census, it “could shift the nation’s balance of political power from cities to more rural communities over the next decade and give Republicans a new advantage in drawing electoral boundaries,” the Washington Post reported last year.

Advocates and former census officials alike say it’s a bad idea to add a citizenship question.

“Trump tried to twist the 2020 census into just another weapon in his war on immigrants, aiming to drive down responses and intentionally leading to a less representative government by hiding millions,” Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), said in a statement to Shareblue Media. “I’m glad the court has intervened to stop this hastily crafted and dangerous question from distorting our census.”

The judge’s decision was based on how Ross and the administration made the decision to add the citizenship question, not the racist impact of such a question, the New York Times reports.

But it’s still a victory for the plaintiffs, and for those who care about the integrity of the census — at least for now.

“Today’s ruling is a strong signal to the Trump administration that any attempts to politicize and corrupt the 2020 census will fail,” Thomas Wolf, executive director of the Brennan Center for Justice, said in a statement.

“While today’s ruling is a victory, we cannot rely solely on the courts to swat down this xenophobic and politically nefarious question,” Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said in a statement. “Congress must come together, across party lines, to ensure we protect the census from politicization and ensure every person is counted justly and accurately.”

The Trump administration, of course, has come to be defined by its virulent anti-immigration policies. Trump kicked off his 2016 campaign by calling Mexicans “rapists,” and one of his first acts after his sparsely-attended inauguration was an ill-fated ban on Muslims entering the United States. Trump has defended white supremacists after a hate-filled rally in Charlottesville, denigrated immigrants from Haiti and Africa by claiming they come from “shithole countries,” and instigated the country’s longest government shutdown over a racist attempt to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The attempt to put a citizenship question on the 2020 census is just another in a long line of anti-immigrant racism from the Trump administration. And once again, the courts have to step in to squash the most egregious excesses.

Published with permission of The American Independent. 


Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL)

Twitter has restricted access to a tweet posted Monday by Rep. Matt Gaetz, in which the Florida Republican called for what commenters described as extrajudicial killings of protesters.

"Now that we clearly see Antifa as terrorists, can we hunt them down like we do those in the Middle East?" Gaetz tweeted, joining Donald Trump and other Republicans in blaming anti-fascists for the violence across the country at protests over the death of George Floyd.

Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for eight minutes, even as Floyd said he could not breathe. Autopsies have found that Floyd died of asphyxia.While Gaetz's tweet is still up, users have to click on it to see its contents. It's covered by a box that reads, "This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain accessible."

Democratic lawmakers called out Gaetz in response to the tweet and urged Twitter to remove it from the social media platform.

"Take the Gaetz tweet down right now @twitter. RIGHT NOW," Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) tweeted Monday night. "The survivors of mass shootings are lighting up my phone. They are scared to death this will inspire someone to start shooting into a crowd tonight. They are right."

After Twitter took action against his tweet, Gaetz said, "Their warning is my badge of honor."

"Antifa is a terrorist organization, encouraging riots that hurt Americans. Our government should hunt them down. Twitter should stop enabling them. I'll keep saying it," Gaetz said in a tweet that he pinned to the top of his profile page.

Donald Trump has demanded that the antifa movement be labeled a domestic terrorist organization.

However, as noted, "There is no such official federal designation for domestic terrorism organizations." Even if such a designation existed, the site said, it would be "difficult or questionable" to categorize antifa in that manner because it is not an organized group with a hierarchy and leadership.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.