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Trump Cuts Undocumented Immigrants from Census Apportionment

Trump's latest memo will exclude undocumented immigrants from determining congressional representation, but won't be enforceable

President Trump signed a memo Tuesday directing the federal government to not count undocumented immigrants when allocating congressional representation across the nation. Opponents to the measure say this is unconstitutional and a bald ploy to help the Republican party. The directive would exclude millions of people when determining how many House seats each state should have, reversing the policy of counting everyone regardless of citizenship status. 

“The radical left is trying to erase the existence of [citizenship] and conceal the number of illegal aliens in our country. This is all part of a broader left-wing effort to erode the rights of American citizens, and I will not stand for it,” Trump said in a written statement.

Trump has long sought to use the census as a tool in his immigration crackdown, first by attempting to include a citizenship question on the form itself. That effort was shot down by the courts. Tuesday’s memorandum will be challenged in court and likely ended as well. Regardless, Trump’s order can’t even be carried out because there is no official tally of undocumented immigrants and federal law bars population estimates for reapportionment purposes.

Excluding undocumented immigrants in 2020 would redistribute three seats across the U.S., according to the immigration restrictionist think tank Center for Immigration Studies. California, New York and Texas would all lose a seat, while Ohio, Alabama and Minnesota would each gain one. The consensus among experts is that the memorandum will amount to very little, but it Trump’s hardline immigration stance to his base. The New York Times

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