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Mass. secretary of state warns Trump could ‘sabotage’ 2020 Census

Bill Galvin.Craig F. Walker/Globe staff

Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin is accusing the Trump administration of making moves that could “sabotage” the 2020 US Census in Massachusetts.

In a statement sent Tuesday, Galvin said Trump’s proposal to insert questions about immigration status and other possible changes could deter immigrants from taking part in the decennial count of the United States population, resulting in an inaccurate tally.

“It’s pretty obvious to me that the Trump administration intends to politicize this process,” Galvin said in the statement. “Everything I see here suggests to me that they don’t really want a good count in states like ours.”


Galvin said he would consider “legal action” against the Trump administration should it decide to insert immigration questions into the Census.

Galvin’s comments come amid reports that only US citizens would be allowed to work as Census-takers, raising concerns that Census workers would not be able to sufficiently reach non-English-speaking residents.

“Traditionally, non-citizens with valid work visas and necessary language capabilities were hired to assist with counting members of immigrant communities when a sufficient number of translators with American citizenship could not be hired,” the statement from Galvin’s office says.

Galvin made the comments Tuesday during a hearing before the state legislature’s Joint Committee on Ways and Means.

The Census counts every resident of the United States regardless of immigration status. It is mandated by the US Constitution to take place every 10 years.

Galvin’s office is tasked with conducting the Census count in Massachusetts. Data from the Census is critically important for drawing legislative districts across the state, and is also used in everything from allocating federal funding to determining where to build new facilities.