Robert Santos Confirmed as First Latino to Lead Census Bureau

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Politics|Senate Confirms Robert Santos arsenic First Latino to Lead U.S. Census Bureau

The confirmation connected Thursday brings a imperishable caput to the bureau aft a turbulent play nether the Trump administration.

Robert Santos astatine  the Capitol successful  July.
Credit...Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press

Zach Montague

Nov. 4, 2021, 3:26 p.m. ET

The Senate connected Thursday confirmed Robert Santos arsenic caput of the Census Bureau, making him the archetypal idiosyncratic of colour to service arsenic imperishable manager of the bureau that counts the United States population, balances the fig of electors to the Electoral College and tracks changes to demographics and wealthiness successful the country.

The 58-to-35 ballot to capable the presumption with a imperishable manager helped bring closure to a tumultuous play successful which the previous manager resigned retired of interest that the bureau had go a governmental limb nether the Trump administration.

In January, the erstwhile director, Steven Dillingham, near the occupation citing concerns that the Trump administration’s threats to deport undocumented immigrants had caused a chilling effect connected survey response, undermining close colonisation counts during the 2020 census. Mr. Dillingham’s word had been acceptable to expire successful December.

The bureau, which has traditionally played a mostly apolitical relation arsenic a information postulation body, besides became a governmental people due to the fact that of its relation successful redistricting. Under President Donald J. Trump, the bureau was ordered to tally undocumented immigrants successful what Democratic strategists saw arsenic an effort to portion immigrants from the colonisation number utilized to allocate House seats.

The Trump medication besides tried to adhd a citizenship question to the 2020 census. That proviso was blocked by the Supreme Court successful 2019 and abandoned by the Trump medication arsenic clip ran abbreviated to adhd the question to survey forms.

Many spot the information of a Latino to caput the bureau arsenic symbolic of a reversal successful people nether the Biden administration.

“I deliberation a batch of the contention successful 2020 and ongoing has been astir radical of colour oregon immigrants, oregon who’s counted, who’s in, who’s out, and those kinds of contented perennially travel up,” said Carl Tobias, a instrumentality prof astatine the University of Richmond successful Virginia. “So I deliberation it’s invaluable to person idiosyncratic who is simply a idiosyncratic of colour successful that position.”

Mr. Santos is besides a prominent statistician who drew enactment from a fig of Republicans successful a proceeding earlier the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee successful August, including Senators Mitt Romney of Utah, Rob Portman of Ohio and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. Mr. Romney and Mr. Portman were among the 10 Republican senators who joined 48 Democrats to corroborate Mr. Santos.

Mr. Santos presently serves arsenic vice president and main methodologist astatine the Urban Institute successful Washington and has worked extensively successful survey sampling, studying outreach to undocumented immigrants, refugees and different disadvantaged populations.

Mr. Santos volition measurement successful to oversee a section that has been severely hampered successful its efforts by the pandemic, which forced the 2020 census to beryllium conducted with a big of unfamiliar challenges, including message delays and caller difficulties reaching radical by telephone oregon successful person. He volition beryllium tasked with managing these challenges done his five-year term, which ends successful 2026.

Democrats hailed the ballot arsenic a cardinal summation to the Biden medication and 1 designed to reconstruct the nonpartisan quality of the job.

“We request to support our census from the pressures of partisan politics, and Mr. Santos is simply a cleanable fit,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the bulk leader, said successful a statement. “I americium assured that Mr. Santos volition reconstruct spot and integrity to 1 of the astir important agencies successful government.”

Though Mr. Santos’s enactment volition clasp heavy implications for the governmental scenery and volition nutrient the reports that pass home economical policy, helium has stressed that helium would not fto authorities signifier his responsibilities.

“Although this is simply a governmental appointment, I americium nary politician,” helium said astatine his confirmation proceeding successful July.

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