Washington, D.C. – The co-chairs of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Census Task Force – Arturo Vargas, CEO of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund; John C. Yang, President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC; and Wade Henderson, Interim President and CEO of The Leadership Conference – issued the following statement calling for the immediate resignation of United States Census Bureau Director Dr. Steven Dillingham:
“In light of the letter from the Office of the Inspector General outlining whistleblower complaints that U.S. Census Bureau Director Dr. Steven Dillingham ordered staff to prioritize the unconstitutional and premature production of a technical report that would include data on documented and undocumented immigrants in the United States, a directive motivated by partisan objectives, we are calling for the immediate resignation of Director Dillingham.
“We do not lightly come to the conclusion that he should resign. We are fully mindful that Congress gave the Census Director the remainder of a five-year term in 2019 that expires at the end of 2021 in order to promote continuity of service without regard to the term of a president. We continue to support that improvement to the leadership structure of the bureau. However, after considering Director Dillingham's efforts to undermine the agency's core standards of data quality in order to carry out a political agenda, we believe that he can no longer carry out his duties as the leader of our nation's most prestigious statistical agency.
“Oversight is critical to ensure that the American people trust the data the Census Bureau produces. We praise the thorough work of the Commerce Department’s Office of the Inspector General. We also stand firmly behind the career civil servants that are working diligently to produce high quality, statistically sound data.”
“The priority for the professional staff of the bureau is to produce the apportionment counts from the 2020 Census as mandated by the Constitution. The delivery of these data has been delayed because of unprecedented challenges in conducting the decennial Census caused by the pandemic, as well as the political interference and sabotaging of the process by the Secretary of Commerce, the White House, and others in the Trump administration.
“The bureau has acknowledged ‘irregularities’ and ‘anomalies’ in the data, the nature and extent of which the bureau has not shared with the public, that the staff is desperately trying to fix. Dillingham’s order to divert precious staff time away from producing the apportionment count and into producing data on citizens and noncitizens for political, partisan purposes is a betrayal of the mission of the bureau. Director Dillingham must resign immediately.”
NALEO Educational Fund is the nation’s leading non-profit, non-partisan organization that facilitates the full participation of Latinos in the American political process, from citizenship to public service.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC has a mission to advance the civil and human rights of Asian Americans and to build and promote a fair and equitable society for all. Visit our website at advancingjustice-aajc.org.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 220 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.