Court Battles

Supreme Court to hear arguments on Trump administration’s attempt to exclude undocumented immigrants from census

The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on Monday on the Trump administration’s attempt to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census, The Associated Press reported. 

The policy is likely the administration’s last hard-line approach to immigration issues to reach the court, the AP noted. The administration argues that the Constitution and federal law allow the president to exclude “illegal aliens” from the count. 

“As history, precedent, and structure indicate, the President need not treat all illegal aliens as ‘inhabitants’ of the States and thereby allow their defiance of federal law to distort the allocation of the people’s Representatives,” acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall wrote, according to the news outlet.

President Trump has pledged to remove undocumented immigrants from the census count, straying from the centuries-old process, which would likely increase the number of House seats held by Republicans for the next 10 years.

The administration is hoping that the court, which includes three Trump appointees, will embrace the idea. However, how the court will rule is not yet known. 

Federal courts in New York, California and Maryland have rejected the president’s move as unconstitutional. A court in Washington, D.C., ruled this past week that a similar challenge to the plan was premature, the AP notes. 

Democrats have argued that Trump’s plan would result in an unfair distribution of seats for political goals. 

In most years, census data collection would need to be finished by Dec. 31, but Congress extended the deadline to April 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Yet Trump demanded the original deadline over the summer. 

However, further complicating the matter was the revelation earlier this month that “certain anomalies have been discovered” that would prevent the Census Bureau from meeting the deadline. 

The White House is required to send a state-by-state count to the House next year to move forward with reallocation. But the president requested a separate tally of undocumented immigrants with the intention of subtracting those numbers from the state totals ahead of reporting to the lower chamber. 

Removing undocumented immigrants from the count could also dramatically change how federal funding is allocated for different government services, bringing more funding from cities to less populated locations.

Tags 2020 Census Census Census Bureau Department of Commerce Donald Trump Illegal immigration immigrants Immigration Population Wilbur Ross
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