A jury of three federal judges in New York on Thursday banned the Trump administration from proceedingexclude undocumented immigrants from the census used to determine the number of seats states will receive in the House of Representatives. The decision temporarily halts an unprecedented proposal with potential seismic political ramifications.
At the center of Thursday’s decision is a July proclamation from Mr Trump calling on Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the US Census Bureau, to facilitate the collection of data that would enable him to remove undocumented immigrants from the census to remove division of Congress. The constitutionally required procedure for determining the number of house seats in each state occurs every 1
The three-judge panel, which met specifically to hear the case, said the proposal violated federal laws that regulate redesign of congressional seats and census counting. The judges have not addressed whether Mr Trump’s policy is constitutional.
“By instructing the Secretary to provide two series of numbers, one from the ten-year census and one not, and announcing that it is United States policy to use the latter in connection with the apportionment, the Presidential Memorandum is deviating from and in violation of it against the legal scheme, “wrote the judges. “Second, the Presidential Memorandum is in violation of the Act on Division because illegal aliens are considered” persons in a “state” while they are in the United States because of the use of those words by Congress. “
Thursday’s order came from a lawsuit filed by a New York-led coalition of states. The legal challenge is one of several filed against Mr Trump’s policy in federal courts across the country.
“The courts have ruled in our favor on every census matter for the past two years, repeatedly rejecting President Trump’s illegal efforts to manipulate the census for political purposes,” New York Attorney General Leticia James said in a statement.
According to an estimate by the Pew Research Center, California, Texas and Florida would get fewer seats in the House than expected if the changes were made by Trump. Alabama, Minnesota and Ohio, on the other hand, would retain seats that they would otherwise have lost.
The Census Bureau’s efforts to enumerate people for the 2020 census – those hindered by the census– are currently underway. Earlier this month, a federal judge in California prevented the government from reducing the final deadline for collecting census responses. This would lead to an undercount, according to proponents, especially among the color communities.
Since the first census in 1790, the United States has always counted both citizens and non-citizens for the division of Congress, regardless of immigration status. The constitution provides that every state must have at least one representative and that the allocation of the other seats should be based on an enumeration of the population.
Until the 14th Amendment was ratified in the 1860s, enslaved African Americans were counted as three-fifths of a person for division in Congress. Indians classified as “not taxed” were expelled until 1940.
The 14th Amendment also requires that representatives be divided on the basis of “the total number of people in each state”. In his July order, Mr. Trump said that because “persons” are not defined, he has “authority to exclude foreigners who are not in legal immigration status from the apportionment basis.” This would uphold the principles of representative democracy.
Officials from the Census Bureau and the Department of Justice and Commerce did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday’s order, which was appealed to the US Supreme Court.
Mr Trump’s July order is part of a broader effort by his administration to change how people in the United States are counted in the census and how that data should be used.
The Trump administration first proposed including a U.S. citizenship question during the 2020 census in March 2018. However, their efforts aimed at enforcing the 1965 Suffrage Act sparked a number of legal challenges that ended in the U.S. Supreme Court preventing the administration from adding the question in time for the questionnaires to be printed.
During the litigation over the issue, it was revealed that Thomas Hofeller, a late Conservative political actor, played a role in drafting the justification for adding the citizenship issue that he would allow officials to hold elections in a 2015 study on Cards beneficial for “Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites”.