Director of the Census Bureau, Steven Dillingham, has announced that come Wednesday, January 20, 2021, he will no longer occupy the position. Dillingham told employees of the bureau about his resignation via a letter which the bureau published. Key far-right lawmakers have demanded that the census director resign after a non-partisan agency reported that he was rushing the collation of the 2020 census results.
“I am resigning from my post as the head of the United States Census Bureau,” Dillingham wrote. “My resignation will be effective from Wednesday, January 20, 2021…I deeply appreciate all your efforts in the service of your country.”
President Donald Trump appointed Dillingham as the head of the bureau in 2019, and according to reports, he was to leave the post at the end of the year. Last week, the US Department of Commerce’s Office of Inspector General sent a memo accusing Dillingham of trying to rush the computation process that would determine the number of and exclude the illegal immigrants in each state, from the 2020 Census result which will be used to apportion legislative seats.
After the memo was sent, many Democratic lawmakers called for Dillingham to resign from the post. Shortly after, he ordered bureau officials to stop the report and on Monday, he announced his resignation from the post. In a blog post sent with the resignation notice, Dillingham said that he had gotten invitations to retain his post even after the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Dillingham said an official of the Biden transition office was one of those that offered the invitations.
Dillingham stated that with Biden’s knowledge of the significance of statistical agencies, the president-elect would appoint someone capable to fill the position. The deputy director of the Bureau, Ron Jarmin, who has been an employee of the bureau for almost 30 years, would fill the position as acting director of the bureau until a new director is appointed, Politico reports.
Dillingham stated that the report of the watchdog agency which was used in the OIG memo only misunderstood the bureau’s policy about the timetable stipulated for the process of computation. He stated that the bureau has a data quality standard that was not ignored during the computation.
The result of the census will determine the number of seats each state gets in the House of Representatives. It will also determine the number of Electoral College votes each of the fifty states will get during elections. Trump passed a memorandum to exclude illegal immigrants from the total population results of every state, a move which Biden has denounced and promised to reverse.
Analysts familiar with the issue have criticized Dillingham for trying to rush the process. They also criticized Trump’s memorandum that illegal immigrants should be excluded from the counts. The analysts explained that the president was only trying to tamper with the figures to benefit the GOP. The Census announced during the weekend that apportionment data will only be made available after the transition.