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Federal Judge Smacks Down Trump Administration’s Attempt to Add Citizenship Question to 2020 Census

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A federal district judge in New York has ruled against the Trump administration in its attempt to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census. The question, many believe, would cause undocumented immigrants to not respond to the constitutionally-required survey, thus undercounting possibly millions of people in the U.S.

U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman, of the Southern District of New York, noted that if the question were to be included, “hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of people will go uncounted.”

Judge Furman also laid out other reasons for overruling the Trump administration, including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross (photo) did not include the question on time, a topic of much investigation.

The census has a multitude of practical, real-world, every day applications. In addition to being used to determine how and where $675 billion in federal funds are spent, it determines the number of Representatives in Congress each state is allotted.

Mother Jones’ Ari Berman, an expert on voting rights, called Tuesday’s judicial ruling a “huge victory for democracy.” He adds:

Last year Berman wrote that the Trump administration was “rigging the census,” in an effort “to sideline minority populations in 2020” that “will undermine democracy for decades to come.”

The Trump administration is expected to appeal.

The Huffington Post, which first reported on the ruling, adds that the “Supreme Court will hear oral argument on what evidence the courts can consider in the case in February.”

RELATED STORIES:

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION CLAIMS SHARING CENSUS INFORMATION UP FOR ‘DEBATE’

TRUMP OFFICIALS CONSIDERED WAYS TO SHARE CONFIDENTIAL CENSUS RESPONSES WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT – WHICH IS ILLEGAL

TRUMP HAS NOW POLITICIZED AND WEAPONIZED THE U.S. CENSUS

 

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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CIVIL RIGHTS

Trump Administration Moves to Capture and Test DNA of All Migrants in Custody and Treat Them ‘More Like Criminals’

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In a major change from prior administrations President Donald Trump’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials want to extract and test the DNA of every single undocumented person in their custody, regardless of age. Civil rights organizations often oppose the capture of DNA for those who have not been charged or convicted of a crime.

CBP and possibly ICE could spend at minimum 20,000 hours each year to capture and test the DNA of undocumented immigrants in their custody.

A Dept. of Homeland Security official tells Buzzfeed News, which first reported the story, that DHS “is working closely with the Department of Justice on a path forward for DNA collection.”

That official cited studies that found about one in eight to one in five children did not have a DNA match to one or more of the adults accompanying them. The official did not offer any reasons for what they termed “fraudulent” family units. Some reasons could include, however, death or incarceration of a parent, the child being adopted, or even errors on the part of DHS extraction and/or testing, to name a few.

Buzzfeed notes that Obama-era DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano narrowed a law’s “exemption, saying people who were not detained on criminal charges and those who were awaiting deportation proceedings would not be DNA tested.”

The Trump administration’s DHS wants to entirely remove the exemption, testing every person in its custody.

“It would, for the first time in this context, treat undocumented immigrants more like criminals in that DNA testing of this type is used only in a pure criminal context,” Jonathan Meyer, a former deputy general counsel at DHS told Buzzfeed. “DNA testing is considered one of the more invasive actions that the government can take. You are obtaining a physical substance from a person’s body, with the potential to learn an almost infinite amount of information about the person.”

Civil liberties groups have historically been widely opposed to collection of DNA, especially when no crime has been committed.

“DNA collection programs allow the government to obtain sensitive and private information on a person without any precursor level of suspicion and without showing that the data collected is tied to a specific crime,” wrote the Electronic Frontier Foundation in a statement on federal DNA collection. Federal law enforcement agencies like the FBI generally take DNA samples from arrestees.

RELATED STORIES:

The Trump Administration Is in Shambles and Disintegrating Right Before Our Eyes

Harvard Freshman Deported After Immigration Searched His Phone and Found Anti-US posts by His Friends

Trump Promised Pardon to Head of Customs and Border Protection if He Broke the Law by Blocking Asylum Seekers

 

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CIVIL RIGHTS

Watch: NY State Passes Laws to Protect Transgender People and Ban ‘Ex-Gay’ Conversion Therapy

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It took 15 years but lawmakers in New York State have just voted to protect the civil rights of transgender people. The Legislature also voted to ban harmful and dangerous ex-gay “conversion therapy.” Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign both bills.

The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) expands New York’s Human Rights Law to ban discrimination on the basis of gender identification or expression in areas of employment, education, credit, and housing, as the NY Daily News reports.

Capital Tonight’s Nick Reisman posted video of the moment GENDA passed:

GENDA “would also update the state’s hate crimes law to include offenses motivated by a person’s gender identify or expression.” It has been introduced in every New York State legislature since 2003. Over the years Senate Republicans were able to vote it down.

NY State Senate Republicans also were able to quash a ban on conversion therapy over the years. But after Democrats won the Senate in November, both bills passed on Tuesday.

“Conversion therapy is a dangerous and discredited practice,” Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, the bill’s sponsor, said, as the Times-Union reports. “It is built on the denial of LGBTQ people’s basic humanity, jeopardizes young people’s mental health, and is a perversion of mental health professionals’ mission to help.”

New York becomes the 15th state (and D.C.) to ban conversion therapy.

State Senator Brad Hoylman joined the celebration on Twitter:

HRC’s Charlotte Clymer notes, “Elections matter!”

Lambda Legal:

 

 

 

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