The left is criticizing President Trump for his decision to not include illegal immigrants in the 2020 census. The census will be used for redistricting purposes, and for Congressional representation across the United States. President Trump’s memorandum, through his executive powers, gives him the authority to draw a clear line between citizens and non citizens. The left, however, are upset because they believe this is an anti-immigration move, and they know if they had the ability to count illegal immigrants in their districts, it would help their elections. By law, the president makes the determination of the “whole number of persons in each state.” This is extremely important part of the House of Representatives, and the United States government system.
This order has already caused legal challenges. California, for example, is the home to 2.2 million illegal immigrants, which the order points out. Addressing the problem directly, the order states, “Including these illegal aliens in the population of the State for the purpose of apportionment could result in the allocation of two or three more congressional seats that would otherwise be allocated.”
President Trump doubled down on the importance of the order, despite backlash, writing in a statement, “There used to be a time when you could proudly declare, ‘I am a citizen of the United States.’ But now, the radical left is trying to erase the existence of this concept and conceal the number of illegal aliens in our country. This is all part of a broader left-wing effort to erode the rights of American citizens, and I will not stand for it.”
Why this matters: While Trump’s effort to determine citizens versus non-citizens in the census is clear, there is no citizen question on the census. This will make it difficult to determine who is a legal citizen versus an illegal immigrant. President Trump’s administration tried to add the citizen question to the census, but it was blocked by the Supreme Court. It is unclear how Trump will determine the difference for the 2020 census. If he is not able to, the number of representatives in states with high illegal immigrant populations could add more representatives, and help the Democratic Party hold onto more seats in the House.