Attorney General Tong Moves to Block Trump Effort to Undermine Full, Fair Census Count
Multistate Coalition Continues Fight to Ensure All Residents Are Included in Congressional Apportionment
(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong has joined a multistate coalition filing a motion to stop President Donald Trump’s efforts to illegally leave millions of immigrants out of the congressional apportionment base following the conclusion of the 2020 Decennial Census. President Trump last month issued an executive order seeking to exclude undocumented immigrants from the apportionment base-- the latest in the Trump Administration’s illegal maneuvers to manipulate the census count and congressional apportionment.
“The Constitution requires counting all ‘persons’ in the census. Immigrants – including noncitizens – are people and must be counted. This latest order is just yet one more unlawful attempt to discourage immigrants from participating in the census and thus denying full representation and funding to states like Connecticut,” said Attorney General Tong. “We are already seeing the harmful effects of Trump’s unlawful attacks on the census. Participation rates in Connecticut communities with high immigrant populations are noticeably lower than in 2010, despite sustained and coordinated efforts to counter Trump’s misinformation campaign. This unconstitutional order must be blocked immediately before further damage is done.”
“Over the past year-and-a-half, the Trump Administration has done everything it can to discourage our immigrant population from responding to the 2020 U.S. Census. First the administration sought to add a citizenship question – which was unequivocally unconstitutional – and now this,” said Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz. “These repeated attacks on our immigrant communities are not only unconstitutional, they also reverse a long-standing policy of counting everyone – regardless of citizenship or legal status – in the Census. We will continue to stand up and fight these partisan attempts to cheat hard-to-count communities out of the resources and representation they deserve and are entitled to, and ensure everyone is counted in the decennial questionnaire.”
Last month, a coalition of states, cities, and counties from across the country, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump for continuing attempts to illegally leave millions out of the apportionment base that establishes the number of members in the House of Representatives that each state receives. The lawsuit seeks to stop the Trump Administration from politicizing the census and violating basic constitutional and statutory commands, and instead aims to ensure the administration counts the “whole number of persons” residing in the country for apportionment, as the U.S. Constitution unambiguously requires.
Connecticut is already seeing the consequences of Trump’s efforts to undermine a full and fair census count. Self-response rates are particularly low in Connecticut communities with large immigrant populations – especially when compared with the 2010 response rates. For example, as of August 2, 2020 the self-response rate in the New Haven is 50.4% compared to 58.9% in 2010. The 2020 self-response rate in Bridgeport 48.9% compared to 56.8% in 2010. The 2020 self-response rate in Hartford is 44.4% compared to 53.9% in 2010. And the 2020 self-response rate in Waterbury is 51.2% compared to 60.9% in 2010.
The Fourteenth Amendment clearly states that “Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State...” The framers of the Fourteenth Amendment deliberately chose the phrase “whole number of persons” to refer to all persons living in each state — including the entire immigrant population. More than 150 years of history, practice, and judicial and administrative precedents have since further confirmed that the apportionment of representatives must be based on all persons living in each state, regardless of their citizenship or immigration status.
Joining Attorney General Tong and Attorney General James in filing the motion are the attorneys general of Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia. The attorneys general are joined by the cities of Central Falls, RI; Chicago, IL; Columbus, OH; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Phoenix, AZ; Pittsburgh, PA; Providence, RI; Seattle, WA; and the city and county of San Francisco. Additionally, Cameron, El Paso, and Hidalgo Counties in Texas; Howard County in Maryland; and Monterey County in California joined the lawsuit; as did the U.S. Conference of Mayors.