Trump: ‘Sad time’ after controversial 2020 census change abandoned

Protesters gather at the US Supreme Court as justices finish deliberations regarding the 2020 census case on June 27, 2019 at Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP)
Updated 03 July 2019

Trump: ‘Sad time’ after controversial 2020 census change abandoned

  • The US Supreme Court ruled that the citizenship question in the 2020 census was not convincing
  • Opponents argued that the question — which has not been included since 1950 — would drive many immigrants to avoid answering out of fear

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump said Tuesday it was a “very sad time” after the US government gave up a controversial attempt to put a question about citizenship on next year’s census.
The decision, announced earlier in the day, handed a victory to those who argued the new item would lead to discrimination against minority residents.
It followed a Supreme Court ruling that the case for adding the citizenship question was not convincing.
The president wrote on Twitter: “A very sad time for America when the Supreme Court of the United States won’t allow a question of ‘Is this person a Citizen of the United States?’ to be asked on the #2020 Census!”


Trump added he had asked the departments of commerce and justice to “do whatever is necessary to bring this most vital of questions, and this very important case, to a successful conclusion.”
Trump’s initial reaction to the ruling had been to call for a delay in the imminent printing of the 2020 census forms, holding up the census in order to allow time for a new appeal.
That bid has now been dropped, ending any chance of changing the format of the massive, once-every-decade survey.
“We’re glad the #2020Census will begin printing without a citizenship question,” said New York State Attorney General Letitia James, who led a group of states challenging the administration on the issue.
Just this Monday, Trump had been defiant, telling reporters he wanted the census to find out who was a citizen “as opposed to an illegal.”
“It is a big difference to me between being a citizen of the United States and being an illegal,” he said.
Opponents argued that the question — which has not been included since 1950 — would drive many immigrants to avoid answering out of fear of being caught up in Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration.
This would render them invisible, skewing the population count and resulting in fewer government resources for the areas they live in, while distorting the lines of congressional districts, which are based on numbers of residents.
This was the intention all along, said Joe Biden, the frontrunner in the contest to become the Democratic opponent to Trump in 2020 presidential election.
“Make no mistake, the Trump Administration added a citizenship question to the Census to deliberately cut out the voices of immigrants and communities of color. It’s wrong and goes against our core values as a nation,” the former vice president tweeted.
The Census Bureau’s experts said that 1.6 to 6.5 million immigrants, notably Hispanics, would avoid the census or lie to census takers if faced with the citizenship question.

 


Texas officer charged with murder, resigns after shooting

Updated 15 October 2019

Texas officer charged with murder, resigns after shooting

  • Jefferson was staying up late, playing video games with her nephew, when she was killed, according to the family's attorney

FORT WORTH, TEXAS: A white Fort Worth police officer who shot and killed a black woman through a back window of her home while responding to a call about an open front door was charged with murder on Monday after resigning from the force.
Aaron Dean, 34, was booked into jail on a murder charge Monday afternoon. The police chief said earlier in the day that he acted without justification and would have been fired if he didn't quit.
Police bodycam video showed Dean approaching the door of the home where Atatiana Jefferson, 28, was caring for her 8-year-old nephew early Saturday. He then walked around the side of the house, pushed through a gate into the fenced-off backyard and fired through the glass a split-second after shouting at Jefferson to show her hands.
Dean was not heard identifying himself as police on the video, and Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus said there was no sign Dean or the other officer who responded even knocked on the front door.
"Nobody looked at this video and said that there's any doubt that this officer acted inappropriately," Kraus said.
Earlier in the day, Jefferson's family had demanded that Dean, a member of the force for 1½ years, be fired and arrested.
"Why this man is not in handcuffs is a source of continued agitation for this family and for this community," family attorney Lee Merritt said.
Police went to Jefferson's home about 2:25 a.m. after a neighbor called a non-emergency line to report a door ajar. In a statement over the weekend, the department said officers saw someone near a window inside the home and that one of them drew his gun and fired after "perceiving a threat."
The video showed Dean shouting, "Put your hands up! Show me your hands!" and immediately firing.
Jefferson was staying up late, playing video games with her nephew, when she was killed, according to the family's attorney.
As for what, exactly, led Dean to open fire, the police chief said: "I cannot make sense of why she had to lose her life." The chief said Dean resigned without talking to internal affairs investigators.
The video included images of a gun inside a bedroom. Kraus said he did not know whether Jefferson was holding the weapon. But he said the mere fact she had a gun shouldn't be considered unusual in Texas.
"We're homeowners in Texas," the police chief said. "Most of us, if we thought we had somebody outside our house that shouldn't be and we had access to a firearm, we would be acting very similarly to how she was acting." Kraus said that, in hindsight, releasing the images of the weapon was "a bad thing to do."
Mayor Betsy Price called the gun "irrelevant."
"Atatiana was in her own home, caring for her 8-year-old nephew. She was a victim," Price said.
Texas has had a "castle doctrine" law on the books since 2007 that gives people a stronger legal defense to use deadly force in their homes. The law was backed at the time by the National Rifle Association and is similar to "stand your ground" measures across the U.S. that say a person has no duty to retreat from an intruder.
Fort Worth is about 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of Dallas, where another high-profile police shooting occurred last year.
In that case, white Dallas officer Amber Guyger shot and killed her black neighbor Botham Jean inside his own apartment after Guyger said she mistook his place for her own. Guyger, 31, was sentenced this month to 10 years in prison.
A large crowd gathered outside Jefferson's home Sunday night for a vigil after demonstrations briefly stopped traffic on Interstate 35. A single bullet hole was visible in the window of the single-story, freshly painted purple home, and floral tributes and stuffed animals piled up in the street.
The police chief said Dean could face state charges and that he had submitted a case to the FBI to review for possible federal civil rights charges.
Dean has not yet hired an attorney but will have one provided with financial support from the state's largest police union, the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, according to Charley Wilkison, executive director.
Relations with the public have been strained after other recent Fort Worth police shootings. In June, the department released footage of officers killing a man who ignored repeated orders to drop his handgun. He was the fourth person Fort Worth police had fired upon in 10 days.
Of the nine officer-involved shootings so far this year in Fort Worth, five targeted African Americans and six resulted in death, according to department data.
Nearly two-thirds of the department's 1,100 officers are white, just over 20% are Hispanic, and about 10% are black. The city of nearly 900,000 people is about 40% white, 35% Hispanic and 19% black.
Calling the shooting "a pivotal moment in our city," the mayor said she was ordering a top-to-bottom review of the police force and vowed to "rebuild a sense of trust within the city and with our police department."
Jefferson was a 2014 graduate of Xavier University in New Orleans and earned a bachelor's degree in biology. She was working in pharmaceutical equipment sales and was considering going to medical school, according to the family's lawyer.