If Trump succeeds in the new case, it could be the first time the U.S. has excluded undocumented immigrants from counting individuals so that seats in the U.S. House of Representatives can be allocated and will also affect the distribution of federal funds.
“The 2020 census is about power and money,” said Thomas Wolf, senior adviser at the Brennan Center.
“These numbers determine how seats in Congress will be distributed over the next 10 years, which will determine the political strength of communities over the next decade, as well as whether they will receive a fair share of the $ 1.5 trillion that the federal government, “Wolf added.
Trump’s efforts are complicated by the fact that census officials have indicated that they have difficulty processing census responses for the final census. If the numbers are handed over to the president after the January 20 inauguration date, Trump’s initiative is unlikely to be implemented by the Biden government and the case could be debatable.
The Constitution stipulates that deputies shall be “divided” among those States which count every ten years the “total number of persons of each State.”
Congress instructed the Secretary of Commerce to conduct the census and submit the table to the President by December 31st. The president, in turn, forwards the number to Congress, usually in the first week of January.
In July, Trump issued a memorandum outlining a new policy that required undocumented immigrants to be excluded from the distribution base. He instructed the commercial secretary to send two numbers to the president. The first is the census. The second excludes undocumented immigrants. According to the government, other administrative records could be used to determine the immigration status of individuals.
Acting Attorney General Jeff Wall told the court that the “president is the final decision-maker” regarding the content of the census and that the law does not “explicitly require” him to use data submitted by the secretary, instead the census can be combined with administrative records for distribution. .
In addition, the language derived from the Constitution and the statutes “has long been understood to cover only the inhabitants of one state,” Wall argued in court papers. “As history, precedent, and structure show, the president doesn’t have to treat all illegal aliens as residents of states, and thus allow their defiance of federal laws to distort the distribution of MPs,” Wall said.
He was sued by a group of states and local officials, as well as organizations represented by the American Civil Rights Association.
A three-judge court in the Southern District of New York blocked White House policy.
“Throughout the history of the Nation, the data used to determine the division of Congress covered every single person in the United States at the time of the census, whether citizens or non-citizens, whether they lived here with or without legal status,” the court held.
Trump’s reminder, the court stressed, violates “the mandate of Congress to use the results of the census – and only the results of the census – in connection with the division process.”
State lawyers told the judiciary that “there is nothing in the text or history of the constitution or the census law to suggest that appellants can only be treated indisputably with millions of people living here as if they were not here, solely because of their immigration status.”
Dale Ho, who represents certain groups in the ACLU, argues that “the three branches of government that have lasted for more than two centuries all point to a single conclusion: the Constitution requires that all individuals in each state be counted in the distribution base — including non-documentary immigrants with disabilities “.