CAMDEN, NJ — Camden Mayor Frank Moran’s virtual address on Tuesday, which included mention of the heat advisory, COVID-19 and the census, was followed by less-formal commentary.
“As I wrapped up that Facebook Live, I got some updated information which is troubling to me...regarding the executive order that has been put forth by [President Trump],” Moran said.
“The president of this country just signed an executive order stating that if you are an undocumented person in this country, as he calls them ‘illegal aliens,’ you will not be counted. I repeat you will not be considered in the [census] count,” he continued.
Trump’s memorandum makes the claim that undocumented migrants should not be in the count over purposes of choosing how many members of Congress are doled out to each state.
"Respect for the law and protection of the integrity of the democratic process warrant the exclusion of illegal aliens from the apportionment base, to the extent feasible and to the maximum extent of the President's discretion under the law," Trump said in the document.
Moran, a Democrat, highlighted the large population of undocumented individuals in the country and his city. He pointed to the necessity of their inclusion, as the local government works to obtain as many federal resources at its disposal.
“It is absolutely insane what is coming from Washington, D.C,” said Moran, who then noted the importance of local unity ahead of the upcoming presidential election.
Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez, who has led census efforts in Camden County, said in a statement that the president's memorandum was purely political and “undermines” confidence in the 2020 census count's hard-to-count populations.
Said populations, which also include the homeless population and children under five, are called such over the difficulty historically of collecting complete data.
“With just 45.4% participation in the census thus far in Camden City, we cannot afford to have the administration casting further doubt upon the safety and security of the enumeration process, or upon the importance of counting every person, whether they are a United States citizen or not,” Rodriguez said.
The once-in-a-decade census has implications for $675 billion in annual allocated funds nationwide. Funds impact all sectors of public life including health, education, transportation improvements, hospitals, roads, businesses and other resources.
The census does not include a question about US citizenship status, nor is the Census Bureau allowed to release any information that would identify you, your home, or place of work to law enforcement. The release of the information would lead to a fine of up to $250,000 and five years of incarceration.
Other inquiries absent from the census questionnaire: Social Security number, money, donations, anything on behalf of a political party or their bank or credit card number.
“We need everyone to complete the 2020 Census to ensure that our community receives the support and representation that it is owed,” Rodriguez said. “We cannot allow this administration’s repeated attempts to undermine this process to jeopardize the resources our community needs.”