Posted on October 26, 2020

Court Blocks Trump from Getting Undocumented Immigrants’ Census Data for His Reapportionment Plan

Michael Wines, New York Times, October 22, 2020

A three-judge federal panel in California on Thursday barred the Census Bureau from giving the White House a count of the nation’s unauthorized immigrants, dealing a blow to President Trump’s plan to upend the centuries-old method of apportioning seats in the House of Representatives.

Mr. Trump ordered the bureau in July to give him a state-by-state count of people living in the United States without authorization, saying he planned to subtract them from the 2020 census totals that will be used to divvy up House seats among the states next year. In a 90-page opinion, the panel, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, said doing that would violate both the Constitution and federal laws governing the census and reapportionment.

But the judges went a step further. Noting that Census Bureau officials had testified that they were on the way to assembling an accurate count of at least 90 percent of unauthorized immigrants, the panel ordered the bureau to deliver only census population totals for calculating reapportionment, and to withhold any breakout of the immigrant population.


The California panel, which included two judges nominated by Mr. Obama and one by Mr. Bush, suggested the constitutional issues were equally clear. “The Constitution’s text, drafting history, 230 years of historical practice, and Supreme Court case law all support the conclusion that apportionment must be based on all persons residing in each state, including undocumented immigrants,” the judges wrote.

{snip} The plaintiffs claimed the move would cost them both political representation and untold sums of federal dollars that are distributed based on population.