Amid tumultuous proceedings to impeach President Donald Trump over his role in last week’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, advocacy groups are also pushing for the immediate resignation of Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham for enabling the president’s attempt to exclude undocumented immigrants from the count.
Several organizations called for Dillingham’s ouster after a letter from the Office of the Inspector General surfaced Tuesday outlining whistleblower complaints that Dillingham — for his own political agenda — pressured bureau employees to prematurely issue citizenship statistics before Trump leaves office.
“In light of the letter a directive motivated by partisan objectives, we are calling for the immediate resignation of Director Dillingham,” said a joint statement from the leaders of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Census Task Force. “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 to promote continuity of service without regard to the term of a president.
“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,” the statement said.
The Trump administration had attempted to use the bureau to weed out undocumented immigrants after the Supreme Court kept Trump from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
After the inspector general’s report, Dillingham issued a memo Wednesday to bureau workers instructing them to stop collecting citizenship data, according to The Associated Press.
The organizations demanding Dillingham’s exit, however, say his past part in the process makes him no longer fit to serve.
“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,” their statement said. “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.”