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Donald Trump’s move to eliminate undocumented aliens from being counted by the U.S. Census Bureau was thwarted when federal judges ruled against the order, on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. Unfortunately for the president, this is the second ruling against him in the past week changes in his administration’s attempt to politicize the decennial reports.
In July, Trump told Wilbur Ross, the Commerce Secretary who oversees the census, to alter how the collection of data was submitted. The president wanted the information taken about illegal residents in the U.S. to be separated from legal citizens.
He wants to remove them from the data used to determine congressional apportionment as mandated by the Constitution. The number of seats in the House of Representatives allocated to each state is determined by the census data collected every ten years.
A three-judge panel convened specifically for this case determined Trump’s insistence on two sets of data “violates federal laws that govern the redrawing of congressional seats and the census count,” reports CBS News. However, the panel did not address the constitutionality of the president’s request.
They determined that ordering Ross to “provide two sets of numbers, one derived from the decennial census and one not,” then proclaiming to use the latter was the U.S. policy to determine apportionment “deviates from, and thus violates, the statutory scheme.”
Moreover, the presidential declaration “violates the statute governing apportionment because, so long as they reside in the United States, illegal aliens qualify as ‘persons in’ a ‘State’ as Congress used those words.”
The judges’ ruling on Thursday is the court’s response to a coalition of states led by New York. Their legal challenge is only one of the numerous lawsuits filed against the president’s directives about how he wants the census reporting to be handled.
New York Attorney General Letitia James stated the courts ruled in “favor on every census matter” and regularly rejected the president’s illegal efforts to manipulate the census data for political gain.
If Trump had succeeded with this scheme, Florida, California, and Texas would reduce House of Representative seats. In contrast, Ohio, Alabama, and Minnesota would keep seats they would have lost as a result of the census reports, according to the Pew Research Center.
CBS News indicates the Census Bureau and the Departments of Justice and Commerce have not responded to requests for comment. Thursday’s order could be appealed to the Supreme Court.
It is possible since the president first floated the idea of indirectly eliminating undocumented aliens by including a question about citizenship during the 2020 census in 2018. Since that would violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965, this suggestion caused a furor of legal challenges, which ultimately ended up with the U.S. Supreme Court blocking his administration from adding the question.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
CBS News: 2020 Census: judges halt Trump plan to exclude undocumented immigrants from census count
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