Third Federal Court Blocks Trump’s Directive to Omit Undocumented Immigrants in Census Apportionment Calculations

Today, a third federal court blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to omit undocumented immigrants from the census numbers for the apportionment of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. The U.S. District for the District of Maryland, in Useche v. Trump, ruled that President Trump’s memorandum ordering this unprecedented change  violates U.S. statutes governing the census and apportionment.

On July 23, 2020, Common Cause filed the first challenge to President Trump’s memorandum, just two days after it was issued. A decision is anticipated soon in Common Cause v. Trump.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Trump v. New York on November 30th.

Statement of Keshia Morris Desir, Common Cause Census & Mass Incarceration Project Manager

The United States Constitution is unambiguous in its requirement that the census count every resident, but that did not stop the Trump administration from attempting to manipulate the census for partisan political gain. Millions of our friends, family, and neighbors stood to be stripped of political representation in Congress if this unconstitutional directive were to be carried out. But now three different federal courts have found the memo contains clear violations of U.S. statutes and blocked the President’s directive.

At its heart the Trump memo is a cynical and racist attempt to influence and manipulate census data for partisan political advantage. The memo, we learned, is the brainchild of the late Thomas Hofeller, the longtime top GOP redistricting strategist, who steered the administration’s efforts to remove non-citizens from the census. Hofeller concluded that removing undocumented residents from the numbers used in apportionment would be advantageous for Republicans and white Americans.

The memo is also in clear violation of the United States Constitution and the courts have been unanimous in recognizing that fact.