Immigration advocates: Trump memo on congressional reapportionment is unconstitutional

President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed a presidential memorandum excluding undocumented immigrants from being counted when congressional districts are redrawn. 

"The administration is trying to do this is because they know that the data means power, for the people to be counted that allows them to claim power," said Meeta Anand, Census 2020 senior fellow at the New York Immigration Coalition.

The president signed the memo claiming he had determined that, "Respect for the law and protection of the integrity of the democratic process warrant the exclusion of illegal aliens from the apportionment base, to the extent feasible and to the maximum extent of the president's discretion under the law."

Immigration advocates and attorneys say what the president is doing is unconstitutional.

"The Constitution does not designate or delineate between citizens and noncitizens for the purposes of counting the population in the United States and so this is really an attack on a specific group of people," SMA Law Firm founder Steve Maggi said. 

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the president's effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census form.

"When the Census came out in March, it did not ask the people if the people in their households were citizens or not. It was just asking for the total number," Maggi said. "So they have a total number, what he is looking to do is try to figure out a way to exclude what could be potentially 15 million people from that total count, which could affect a large number of districts in the United States, especially states where there are a lot of immigrants.

It is unclear at this point how the administration would determine who is in the country illegally. Legal challenges are expected.


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