trump-census In this Oct. 14, 2020, file photo, then-Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett listens during a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Image via Erin Schaff/The New York Times via AP, Pool, File

President Trump wants to omit undocumented immigrants from the census to put more Republicans in Congress.

With just weeks left in his term, President Donald Trump’s assault on undocumented immigrants is far from over. Despite losing in three federal courts, on Nov. 23, the US Supreme Court heard arguments that challenge Trump’s order to exclude undocumented immigrants from the 2020 census count. 

Trump is seeking to disqualify undocumented immigrants from the census to shift representative seats in Congress, which would benefit Republicans and give them more power in the government. 

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While Trump faces many issues in his attempt to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census, one of the main problems is that the Census Bureau won’t present their final report until after Trump’s term is over. 

A surprising moment during today’s hearings came when newly appointed Justice Amy Coney Barrett questioned Jeffrey B. Wall, the acting solicitor general (representing the Trump administration) about the legalities of an undocumented immigrant being recognized as a resident of the US. She said omitting undocumented immigrants as residents of the United States goes against the “Founding-era” practice. 

“If an undocumented person has been in the country for, say, 20 years, even if illegally, as you say, why would some person not have a settled residence?” Barrett asked during the virtual hearing

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Wall then attempted to compare undocumented immigrants to long-term embassy personnel, saying that they are not counted in the census while they may live in the US. 

Barrett responded by saying, “but you can see illegal aliens have never been excluded as a category from the census?”

Dale Ho, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Voting Rights Project, presented the arguments to the Supreme Court

In a statement, he said, “President Trump has repeatedly tried and failed to weaponize the census for his attacks on immigrant communities. Last year, the Supreme Court held that the administration had lied about why it wanted a citizenship question on the census. Now, the administration has admitted the real reason: to cut immigrant communities out of the census and out of representation in Congress altogether.”

From the very start, the 2020 census was riddled with issues, mainly because of COVID-19. Amid the pandemic, Census Day began on April 1 during the height of the shutdown. Census advocates sought to extend the deadline to do a complete census count. However, as pushed by the Trump administration, the census count ended earlier than expected and only delivered 99% of the census count. Those figures will be presented to President-elect Joe Biden next year.