Trump's memo Tuesday is an blatant attempt to suppress the growing political power of Latinos in the US, said Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
President Donald Trump signed a memorandum on July 21 ordering the US government to exclude illegal aliens from the calculations used to apportion congressional seats based on the population survey conducted during the 2020 census.
Filed on Thursday with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the complaint was released two days after Trump issued a memo calling to exclude unauthorized immigrants from the constitutionally mandated count of every person living in the country that is used to redistribute seats in the House of Representatives.
Since the US Supreme Court recently forced the Census Bureau to remove a citizenship question from printed census forms, the authorities will presumably need to use statistical estimates to prevent "aliens" from being enumerated in the census. "Affording congressional representation, and therefore formal political influence, to states on account of the presence within their borders of aliens who have not followed the steps to secure a lawful immigration status under our laws undermines those principles".
McDonald noted that any Census figures would have to be ratified by Congress, meaning that "even if the Trump administration presented the numbers to Congress, they don't have to accept them".
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Trump already tried and failed to get a citizenship question on the 2020 census.
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.
During a hearing for that same lawsuit, comments by a Justice Department attorney provided some insight into how far along the administration is in producing data to exclude unauthorized immigrants from the apportionment count. In 1979, the Federation for American Immigration Reform and several members of Congress sued, demanding that the 1980 census exclude undocumented immigrants from apportionment. The memo notes that states which thwart the enforcement of federal laws should not be rewarded with increased representation in Congress.
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. Ho said he's confident that Trump's "latest attempt to weaponize the census for an attack on immigrant communities will be found unconstitutional". "We'll see him in court, and win, again".