WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump signed a memorandum Tuesday claiming that undocumented migrants should not be counted in the census for purposes of deciding how many members of Congress are apportioned to each state – though the practical impact of the president’s expected move is uncertain at best.
“Respect for the law and protection of the integrity of the democratic process warrant the exclusion of illegal aliens from the apportionment base, to the extent feasible and to the maximum extent of the President’s discretion under the law,” Trump said in the brief document.
The memo, which the White House presaged for months, will almost certainly draw legal challenges just as an earlier effort by Trump to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census prompted a court battle that went to the Supreme Court, an effort the president lost.
Trump backed down from adding the citizenship question last year.
The memo does not say how the U.S. Census Bureau could distinguish citizens from non-citizens – for any reason – because counters are prohibited from asking a citizenship question. Apportionment is the process of deciding how many members of the House of Representatives members each state will receive based on that state’s population.
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