US SC weighs Trump bid to bar illegal immigrants
from census totals
WASHINGTON: The Supreme Court on Monday is set to take up President Donald Trump’s unprecedented and contentious effort to exclude illegal immigrants from the population totals used to allocate U.S. House of Representatives districts to states.
The challengers to Trump’s July directive include various states led by New York, cities, counties and immigrant rights groups. They have argued that the Republican president’s move could leave several million people uncounted and cause California, Texas and New Jersey to lose House seats, which are based on a state’s population count in the decennial census.
The court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority including three justices appointed by Trump, is scheduled to hear an 80-minute oral argument by teleconference.
Trump lost his bid for re-election on Nov. 3. This case focuses on one of several policy moves his administration is rushing to complete before Democratic President-elect Biden takes office on Jan. 20.
The census in mandated by the U.S. Constitution. The challengers argued that Trump is prohibited by the Constitution’s text from excluding illegal immigrants from the population count. The Constitution requires that the apportionment of House seats be based upon the “whole number of persons in each state.”
The challengers said Trump’s plan, undertaken as part of the government’s responsibility to administer the 2020 census, also violates a federal law called the Census Act that outlines how a census must be conducted.
They said Trump’s plan would weaken the political power of states with larger numbers of illegal immigrants, including heavily Democratic California, by undercounting their true populations and depriving them of House seats. If California loses House districts, that likely would mean Democrats lose House seats, benefiting Trump’s fellow Republicans. There are an estimated 11 million immigrants living in the United States illegally.
Until now, the government’s practice was to count all people regardless of their citizenship or immigration status. - Reuters :p> :�>