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Attorney General William Tong

09/11/2020

Census Win-- Court Rules Undocumented Immigrants Must be Included in Congressional Apportionment

(Hartford, CT) – A three-judge panel in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York yesterday sided with Connecticut and a coalition of states, blocking the Trump Administration from excluding undocumented immigrants from the apportionment base following the conclusion of the 2020 census.

“The Constitution requires counting all persons in the census. Immigrants are people. This action was clearly unconstitutional, and yet another unlawful maneuver to discourage participation in the census and deny states like Connecticut the full representation and funding we are due. This was a major victory, but we must remain vigilant and prepared to defend a full and fair census count against any and all attacks from this lawless President,” said Attorney General Tong.

“This unconstitutional effort by the Trump Administration is yet another partisan attack on the immigrant community and their families. The Census counts every person living in the country — citizens, noncitizens and those holding permanent resident cards. Excluding the immigrant population from the decennial count only cheats them out of the resources and representation they deserve and are entitled to. Thank you to the Office of the Attorney General for their continued efforts in protecting our most vulnerable populations. As the Sept. 30 enumeration deadline approaches, we need to double down on efforts to ensure everyone is counted in the 2020 U.S. Census,” said Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz.

The term “apportionment base” refers to the population counted for purposes of dividing the 435 seats in the House of Representatives between the 50 states.

President Trump in July issued a memorandum seeking to exclude undocumented immigrants from the congressional apportionment base— among a series of illegal maneuvers to manipulate the census count and congressional apportionment. Connecticut joined a coalition of states, cities and counties led by New York in filing a lawsuit.

On Thursday, a three-judge court agreed with the coalition, finding that the president’s plan to exclude undocumented immigrants from the apportionment base was unlawful. The court stated, “The merits of the parties’ dispute are not particularly close or complicated.” In the decision, the court held that President Trump was violating the law by seeking to change the apportionment base, and that “the President must act in accordance with, and within the boundaries of, the authority that Congress has granted. For the reasons discussed above, we conclude that the President did not do so here and that the Presidential Memorandum is an ultra vires violation of Congress’s delegation of its constitutional responsibility to count the whole number of persons in each State and to apportion members of the House of Representatives among the States according to their respective numbers.”

This victory is the latest in a long list of actions Attorney General Tong has taken to protect the integrity of the 2020 Decennial Census. In 2018, the Office of the Attorney General filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration in response to its efforts to add a citizenship question to the census. That suit made its way through multiple courts, eventually landing in the U.S. Supreme Court last year, where the court ruled, last June, in favor of Connecticut by prohibiting the Trump Administration from adding the citizenship question to the census. Additionally, late last month, Attorney General Tong joined a coalition taking legal action against the Trump Administration’s efforts to impair the 2020 Decennial Census by reducing — by an entire month, from October 31 to September 30 — the time in which self-response questionnaires will be accepted and door-to-door follow-ups by census enumerators will take place. Just this past weekend, a district court issued a temporary restraining order to temporarily halt the president’s plan to impair the census.
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