Illegal immigrants are set to have a major impact on the polls, whether they are included in the census or not
As the US prepares to head to the polls later this year, both major parties are making statements accusing the other of attempting to rig the results in their favour. Against the backdrop of unprecedented polarization and widespread protests and clashes throughout the country, it appears that both political parties are already making preliminary moves to dispute the election results in case their opponents win.
The topic that has been chosen as the basis for the mutual accusations is already one of the most divisive and controversial, illegal immigration. Immigrants in the US illegally will be excluded from the 2020 census, President Donald Trump has announced. The census forms the basis for allocating the number of seats that each state wiuull have in the House of Representatives. Senior Democrats have called the move racist and unconstitutional.
On Tuesday, Trump instructed the Department of Commerce to “exclude illegal aliens from the apportionment base following the 2020 census,” meaning that non-citizens will not be counted in the population of those states when the number of seats in the House is next apportioned.
The action “reflects a better understanding of the Constitution and is consistent with the principles of our representative democracy,” Trump said in a statement. Giving congressional representation to aliens who enter or remain in the country illegally would “create perverse incentives and undermine our system of government.”
The release further stated: “Just as we do not give political power to people who are here temporarily, we should not give political power to people who should not be here at all.”
The census-based apportionment is mandated in Article I of the US Constitution, which originally applied to “whole persons” in order to exclude slaves. The article was subsequently amended after slavery was abolished in 1865.
According to the White House, the census has previously excluded tourists and visitors, while counting diplomats and military personnel living overseas.
The announcement was met with strong condemnation from the opposition. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) denounced it as “flagrantly unconstitutional” and said it amounted to another attempt rig the system.
It is flagrantly unconstitutional to exclude people from the Census count based on their immigration status. The Constitution requires that every person be counted. This is another attempt by Trump to use scaremongering against immigrants & rig the system. https://t.co/bOHZxBP6aG
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) July 21, 2020
The American Civil Liberties Union said the president was attempting to “weaponize the census for an attack on immigrant communities.”
BREAKING: Trump tried to add a citizenship question to the census and lost in the Supreme Court.
His latest attempt to weaponize the census for an attack on immigrant communities WILL be found unconstitutional.
We’ll see him in court — and win — again.
— ACLU (@ACLU) July 21, 2020
The Trump administration has already attempted to include a citizenship requirement for the preparation of the census however the move was thwarted in a June 2019 court ruling, when Chief Justice John Roberts said the policy itself was constitutional but sided with the liberals in wanting to see a “better rationale” for the change.
The presidential memorandum Trump sent to Commerce on Tuesday seemed to be written with that in mind, noting that “The discretion delegated to the executive branch to determine who qualifies as an ‘inhabitant’ includes authority to exclude from the apportionment base aliens who are not in a lawful immigration status.”
The White House press release accompanying the memo also pointed out a 1992 Supreme Court decision (Franklin v. Massachusetts), which recognized executive authority in census apportionment. It also noted that the standard of residence may require more than mere physical presence, including some element of allegiance or enduring tie to a place. LINK
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