U.S. Supreme Court

Should immigrants here illegally be excluded from census? SCOTUS justices consider delaying decision

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2020 census

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During telephone oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, the justices appeared skeptical of President Donald Trump’s plan to exclude immigrants in the country illegally from the census count.

But the focus was on whether the high court should decide the case now or hold off, report SCOTUSblog, NBC News, the Associated Press, the New York Times and the Washington Post. How Appealing links to additional coverage.

At this point, it’s not known how many people will be excluded from the count and whether the U.S. Census Bureau will be able to meet a Dec. 31 deadline to give its numbers to Trump. If the bureau sends its report after Jan. 20, President-elect Joe Biden will be the president.

The report is used for reapportionment of the U.S. House of Representatives and to determine federal aid to local governments.

At issue is a 14th Amendment provision that reads, “Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state.”

The Constitution also provides that the federal government should conduct an “actual enumeration” every 10 years, in such manner as directed by Congress. Congress has directed the secretary of commerce to conduct “a decennial census of population … in such form and content as he may determine.”

Acting U.S. Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall said it’s possible that people who are in immigration detention or who have been ordered to leave the country will be excluded from the count. But he conceded that more could be left out, including those who have protection from deportation because they arrived in the country illegally as children.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett was among the justices who indicated skepticism about excluding those here illegally.

“A lot of the historical evidence and long-standing practice really cuts against” the government argument to allow broad discretion in deciding who gets cut, Barrett said.

The case could have a big impact. According to the New York Times, removing immigrants here illegally from the count “would most likely have the effect of shifting congressional seats and federal money to states that are older, whiter and typically more Republican.”

The case is Trump v. New York.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Supreme Court considers Trump’s plan to adjust census based on immigration status”

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