Will Undocumented Immigrants Count In The 2020 Census?

Posted on 12/01/20

The President and his administration are finalizing their 11th-hour attempts to fundamentally change the makeup of the United States, the apportionment of millions of dollars in funding, and the allocation of congressional seats to states. As the president marks his last fifty days in office this week, key administration officials and policy advisers are requesting that the president continue an even stricter approach to his immigration rhetoric and policies. As the president has states he may run in 2024, some advisers have concluded the best possible option to continue to garner support from his base would be to continue to pursue his hardline immigration policies. The President has consistently pursued anti-immigration policies that his own immediate family benefited from. His latest attempts in the United States Supreme Court would leave undocumented immigrants uncounted in the United States census. Department of Justice attorneys have argued on behalf of the president to not include millions of undocumented immigrants in the 2020 census before it’s sent to congress. With multiple delays from the Census Bureau, the December 31st deadline is fast approaching.

If the administration is successful, millions in federal funding will slip away from states that heavy immigrant populations, which are typically democratic. Not only would this leave states significantly underfunded for necessary welfare programs but it would also underrepresent the population of states in the House. The United States House, unlike the Senate, utilizes the population of each state in order to fully represent the body by apportioning a specific number of congressional leaders based on census data. Leaving hundreds of thousands of immigrants uncounted would in effect leave some states underheard.

As the justices begin to hear oral arguments virtually amid the Covid-19 pandemic, their decision will reflect on the power of the executive when it comes to immigration and the like. President Trump’s last-ditch effort to secure the power of the Supreme Court in late October with the nomination and confirmation of Amy Coney Barret almost secures the constitutionalist approach in the interpretation of our most fundamental freedoms. Thus, the court’s decision will be one of the first with the new Supreme Court makeup. The census has been a pinnacle component in the collection of vital data that is used to determine how nearly $1.5 trillion federal dollars are spent. The census, which includes a series of questions for each individual to answer is required by the United States constitution every 10 years. The President’s request to ask every individual whether they are a citizen or not is now rapidly unfolding in the Supreme Court and is now intensifying to a major constitutional controversy. The high stakes fight couldn’t be more important for securing the fundamental rights of millions.

In late July, the President announced in a memo undocumented immigrants should not be included in the reapportionment process. The memo stated that states “that encourage illegal aliens to enter this country and that hobble federal efforts to enforce the immigration laws passed by the Congress should not be rewarded with greater representation in the House of Representatives.” Under the President’s plan, the Census Bureau would report two figures to the White House. One of which would exclude undocumented immigrants from the total population of states.

The reapportionment of congressional houses seats would shift in Republican favor as states like California, Arizona, and Ohio would lose seats while states like Montanna and Alabama would gain seats. The analysis by the Pew Research Center continues to add that the electoral college makeup which is determined based on statehouse delegation sizes would change. “He’s trying to punish states that are immigrant-rich,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said. “What he’s attempting to do is transfer power from those states that have a significant number of immigrants to those that do not.”

Since 1790, every person residing within a state has been counted in the census. Although discrimination was evident with only three-fifths of slaves counting for decades, no formal process was ever followed to exclude undocumented immigrants like the Trump administration has pursued. The Census Bureau is required by law to report the figures to the President by December 31st although delays caused by the pandemic have challenged this deadline. If the figures are reported in time, the President will have full authority to exclude undocumented immigrants when sending the figures to Congress if the Supreme court issues a favorable outcome.

The Law Offices of James A. Welcome fundamentally believes every person in the United States should be counted in the 2020 census. Excluding millions of undocumented immigrants will be counterproductive to social and economic growth. Our nation was founded on immigrants and has continued to benefit from immigration in every aspect. Underfunding and underrepresenting states goes against our most essential democratic beliefs. Millions of undocumented immigrants have paid billions of dollars in taxes that should benefit their local communities and states. The Supreme Court’s decision will not only continue the controversial nature of immigration but it might add to the growing divide our nation is facing with extreme partisanship. Negative partisanship has left the United States falling behind in almost every metric in health outcomes, education, and economy. To recover from the Coronavirus pandemic, our country must be united in counting every citizen and non-citizen in this 2020 census.

Immigrating to the United States? Partner with a legal team that has been backed by thousands of immigrants across the world. With offices conveniently located throughout the state of Connecticut and the implementation of video consultations, potential clients can rest knowing their case will be heard without delay, from anywhere in the world. Attorney James A. Welcome has taken pride in his ability to deliver personable representation with a reliable track record of success. Securing favorable outcomes on your behalf starts with partnering with experience. Contact our team today at (203) 753-7300 or visit welcomelawfirm.com