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Trump Aims To Bar Undocumented Immigrants From Counting Toward House Representation

President Trump on Tuesday issued an executive order that blocks undocumented immigrants from being counted in the 2020 census for the purpose of allocating congressional representation.

The order, which will almost certainly face legal challenges, amounts to something of a workaround for Trump after the Supreme Court last year blocked the administration from adding a citizenship question to the decennial survey.

It’s unclear how the Trump administration would discern each respondent’s citizenship.

The decision is sure to alarm lawmakers and advocacy groups who, amid the coronavirus pandemic, were already concerned about minority  groups being undercounted in the census and consequently affecting the apportionment of representation and resources for years to come.

The Trump administration previously attempted to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, but Trump dropped the bid to do so after the Supreme Court decision, which said the administration’s reasoning was “contrived.”

The Commerce Department later said it would print the census materials without the question. The result was a victory for immigration groups and Democrats who argued including the question would discourage undocumented people from filling out the census and lead to an inaccurate population count.

This approach differs from the citizenship question in that it openly seeks to bar a particular group from being counted in the Census.

During debate on the citizenship question, Trump administration officials vehemently denied accusations that it was intended to discourage participation by foreign nationals, despite accusations to that effect from its opponents.

If undocumented immigrants were successfully excluded from the Census, California — with its more than two million undocumented residents — would bear the brunt of representational and budgetary effects.

But red states like Texas and Georgia — home to 1.6 million and 400,000 undocumented residents, respectively — would also be hard hit, potentially losing seats in Congress.

The executive order is the first in what is expected to be a string of unilateral actions by Trump in the coming weeks. Chief of staff Mark Meadows teased earlier this month that Trump was preparing orders related to immigration, manufacturing and other issues, though he would not elaborate.

Trump has said he is readying an order that would emphasize merit-based immigration, but he has fueled confusion by suggesting the action would also address the Dreamers protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as well. White House aides have disputed that DACA will be covered by the executive order.

The administration is widely expected to try for a second time to rescind DACA after the Supreme Court rejected its first attempt but did not dispute the president’s right to end the program.

Story cited here.

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