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  • Demonstrators rally at the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on April 23, 2019, to protest a proposal to add a citizenship question in the 2020 Census.

    Demonstrators rally at the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on April 23, 2019, to protest a proposal to add a citizenship question in the 2020 Census. | Photo: AFP

Published 23 July 2020
Opinion

The decision was announced in a memo published by the White House.

U.S. President Donald Trump excluded undocumented immigrants from the count for the distribution of state representatives to the House of Representatives, in the run-up to the November elections.

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The decision was announced in a memo published by the White House, while the census is still being conducted in the country, which will conclude its interview stage next October.

The document does not specify the mechanism for determining the immigration status of those registered. Still, it claims that it is U.S. policy to exclude from the distribution base foreigners who are not in legal immigration status, for the redistribution of Representatives after the 2020 census.

Already last year, the census had been the subject of a legal dispute that reached the U.S Supreme Court after the Trump administration attempted to include a controversial question about citizenship in the questionnaire.

The attempt, however, was blocked by five votes to four ruled against the question, considering that the Administration did not give an adequate reason for adding it.

In a document issued Tuesday, the White House explained that not excluding undocumented immigrants "could cause some U.S. citizens to be proportionally underrepresented."

In this respect, Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, an adviser to the American Immigration Council, told EFE that the president's order is "directly against the U.S. Constitution, which says that the census has to count the total number of persons in each state.

"For more than 100 years, the Supreme Court has declared that the word 'persons' in the Constitution refers to all people, regardless of immigration status", he stressed to the news agency. He said it would be challenging to enforce Trump's decision since the census does not have a question about immigration status.

In his opinion, immigrants who do not have legal immigration status are still part of the community: they pay taxes, contribute to society, and build healthy communities.

In the U.S., the census determines the allocation of federal funds, the drawing of electoral districts for the House of Representatives, and the representation of the Electoral College, the body of compromisers charged with electing the president.

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