President Donald Trump signed a memorandum on Tuesday that would prevent migrants who are in the United States illegally from being counted when U.S. congressional voting districts are next redrawn, triggering swift rebukes from Democrats and at least one promise of litigation.
In his latest move against illegal immigration in the U.S., President Trump on Tuesday signed a memo aimed at preventing people who are in the U.S. illegally from being counted in the 2020 Census.
The move could have vast repercussions politically, as Census data is used to allocate resources to states and localities, and impacts how congressional districts are drawn.
Eliminating illegal immigrants in the next round of redistricting could in theory put some states at risk of having fewer seats in Congress.
U.S. Census experts and lawyers say the action is legally dubious – and responses from Democrats and immigration advocates were swift and condemnatory.
Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, derided what he viewed as an "unconstitutional order that has no purpose other than to silence and disempower Latino voices and communities of color." While the Supreme Court has left the door open for citizen-based voting maps for state legislatures, experts see it as a long-shot at the federal level, because the Constitution explicitly says that congressional districts must be based on "the whole number of persons" in each district.
In his memo, Trump said the word "persons" has quote “never been understood to include ... every individual physically present within a state's boundaries." Census experts say that is wrong – that multiple federal laws have reinforced that everyone must be included when congressional districts are drawn.
One legal expert told Reuters that Supreme Court precedent has also endorsed that view.
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President Donald Trump signed a memorandum on Tuesday that targets migrants who are in the United States illegally from being counted when U.S. congressional voting districts are next redrawn. Gavino..