Trump Is Trying To Weaponize The U.S. Census Against Undocumented Immigrants


Earlier Tuesday, President Trump signed the order, saying the memorandum is created to bar "illegal aliens from the apportionment base following the 2020 Census".

Gavin Newsom (D) on Tuesday decried President Donald Trump's executive order which will exclude Illegal aliens from being counted for purposes of congressional apportioning.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled previous year that the Trump Administration can not require the Census Bureau to ask respondents if they are citizens, leaving officials with no way to confirm who is an undocumented immigrant, or where they live.

The Constitution - which empowers Congress, not the president, with final authority over the census - requires a once-a-decade count of the "whole number of persons in each state" in order to determine how to reapportion congressional seats and, by extension, Electoral College votes.

The Trump administration tried to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, but was blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court past year.

It's not the first time that an attempt had been made to keep out immigrants living here illegally from the once-a-decade census and the subsequent allocation of congressional seats. Just last week, three states (South Carolina, South Dakota, and Iowa) joined Nebraska in committing to share driver's license and citizenship data with the federal government and the census bureau.

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Texas, California and Florida are likely to be the state losers under a President Trump's new policy of excluding undocumented immigrants from the count used to dole out House seats, according to Pew analysis Friday. By trying to change this, it seems Trump is using the Census to stoke fear and once again move to reduce the political power of immigrants in their own communities.

"Counting households through administrative data would only disproportionately undercount Black and Brown households", she added.

The process of congressional apportionment is complicated, as the Pew post explains. The executive order would impact the power each state has in the House of Representatives, which is based around population.

Dale Ho, director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project, who successfully argued the case blocking the Trump administration from adding a citizenship question on the 2020 census, expressed certainty the new memo would suffer a similar fate. "This latest action by the administration to exclude undocumented immigrants when determining representation in Congress, rooted in racism and xenophobia, is a blatant attack on our institutions and our neighbors".