On Thursday, September 10th, a panel of federal judges ruled that President Donald Trump’s order to subtract the number of unauthorized immigrants from the census data in each state violates federal law. In July, President Trump ordered the U.S Department of Commerce to collect data about whether census respondents were legally living in the country, and then subtract the number of unauthorized immigrants from the census numbers.
Thirty-six states, the District of Columbia, fifteen cities and counties, a coalition of non-government organizations, and the United States Conference of mayors immediately fought the order, identifying it as an unconstitutional move that will strip citizens nationwide of appropriate federal funding and political representation.
The judicial panel made up of U.S. Circuit Judges Richard C. Wesley, Peter W. Hall, and U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman, unanimously sided with the plaintiffs noting that the memo violated the law by seeking to change the apportionment base. The panel explained the order disrupts Congress’s delegation of constitutional responsibility to count the whole number of persons in each state and the apportion members of the House of Representatives among the states according to their respective numbers.
According to the panel, Trump’s order undermines the longstanding census practice in the U.S. The judges noted throughout the nation’s history, the data collected to determine the apportionment of Congress has included every person residing in the United States at the time of the census, whether citizen or non-citizens and, with legal status or without. The applicable statutes state that these numbers include the total population and the whole number of persons.
The panel acknowledged the plaintiff’s allegation explaining, the data that comes from the census is used to draw congressional districts and distribute federal funds. These funds are for financing; Medicare and Medicaid, highways constructions and development, school lunches, for all people living in these districts and states, not just the citizens that vote.
For more information about the judicial panel’s ruling against President Trump’s order, click here.
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