Washington, DC—This afternoon, President Trump signed an Executive Order “banning undocumented individuals” from the 2020 Census count for the purpose of congressional representation. A major governmental initiative, the Census has already been in operation since March of this year. Citing Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment, legal experts immediately questioned the constitutionality of the order. This follows a history by the Trump administration attempting to suppress undocumented Americans from participating in the 2020 Census, including a failed, last-minute attempt in 2018 to tack a citizenship question onto the Census. The New York Immigration Coalition led a lawsuit against the Commerce Department, which ultimately went to the Supreme Court of the United States. In July 2019, the NYIC won our case, and the Supreme Court blocked the administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
Today’s Executive Order comes after a series of immigration-related actions by the Administration in June, including major changes to the country's asylum system effectively closing the door on those seeking humanitarian relief.
In response to the announcement of the order, Steve Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition, issued the following statement:
“Once again, Donald Trump chooses ineptness and illegal behavior, instead of what’s right for the country. This sloppy, Executive Order is simply unconstitutional and ridiculous on its face. It is another futile effort to interfere in the U.S. Census—a count dating back to 1789 of every individual residing in the country, regardless of age, country of origin, race, income or gender. It’s just the latest in a long line of recent cruel and desperate acts by the Trump administration that will fall apart under the slightest legal scrutiny.
But that’s not the point—the real goal is to depress the Census count by trying to discourage immigrants from participating in the Census, to subvert our democracy by gerrymandering district lines and to ensure immigrant-rich states like New York, don't get fair access to representation or their fair share of federal dollars. The Census count is critical to rebuilding our communities from the pandemic and this recession, and we will work together to make sure everyone is counted. Once again, we will fight any attempt to suppress the Census count in the courts, in Congress and the streets. We will also ensure that our communities know they should continue to be counted.”