November 22, 2017

Formally Appointing Brunell Would Send Clear Signal That the Trump Administration is Invested in Alienating Minorities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, a coalition of 45 of the nation’s preeminent Latino advocacy organizations, strongly opposes the appointment of Thomas Brunell to serve as Deputy Director of the U.S. Census Bureau. Brunell, a professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, is the author of “Redistricting and Representation: Why Competitive Elections Are Bad for America,” and his research has frequently been used to defend gerrymandering. Earlier this year, the Trump administration had considered nominating Brunell to the top director post at the Census Bureau but ultimately passed because that would have required Senate confirmation. However, the deputy director position does not require approval by the Senate.

“The very fact that the Trump administration is even considering Thomas Brunell — someone who literally wrote the book on why competitive elections are bad for this nation — sends a clear signal that this administration is trying to politicize the 2020 Census and risking the undercounting of minority populations,” said Hector Sanchez Barba, Chair of NHLA and Executive Director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement. “As the largest ethnic minority group in the United States, it is crucial that we have a Census Bureau that is committed to counting every voice in America to ensure that Latinos and all minority groups have fair representation at all levels of government. We will not stand idly by as this administration tries to diminish our power.”

“The possible appointment of a partisan redistricting expert to run the operations of the Census Bureau is of grave concern. With the federal government’s largest civilian mobilization in years just 28 months away, the Bureau needs an expert in statistics and systems management who has experience running a large, complex organization and program as its Deputy Director. Of all federal agencies, the Census Bureau should be protected from partisan activities. The Census Bureau is a scientific organization dedicated to the collection of fair and accurate data that affect the entire nation, and there is no room for political maneuvering at the agency,” stated Arturo Vargas, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund Executive Director.

“The appointment of Thomas Brunnel as Census Deputy Director only adds to Trump and Republican efforts to delegitimize the 2020 Census count. While it is not clear what Brunnel could do from inside the agency, his appointment is part of a pattern to skew the agency’s operations in a totally partisan manner. This would undermine the integrity of the next Census in ways that would unfairly benefit the one political party currently in control of Congress and the Presidency. This would be a clear betrayal of the independence of this venerable 115-year American institution,” said Angelo Falcón, President of the National Institute for Latino Policy (NiLP).