A federal court in Manhattan this past week denied the government of Donald Trump the possibility of excluding undocumented immigrants from the national census that is being coordinated in the United States, a setback for the President and his fight against illegal immigration.
Conducted every ten years, the census counts all people present in the United States, including those who are in an irregular situation. The national survey makes it possible to determine the representation of the various states in Congress, but also to calibrate the allocation of several hundred billion dollars in federal funds according to the population of each state.
In late July, prosecutors in many states, including New York, took legal action to challenge the Trump administration’s right not to count undocumented immigrants. Many also feared that this measure would reduce the participation in the census of people in irregular situation, already fragile in itself, because many of them mistakenly fear exposing themselves to deportation if they answer the questions.
In their ruling Thursday, the three federal judges ruled that the government measure was illegal. That decision, they wrote in their sentence, is a “violation” of the delegation granted by Congress to the President to “count all the people in each state.” “We cannot allow the White House to instigate fear and xenophobia to avoid being counted,” New York State Attorney Letitia James said Thursday, hailing a “great new success.”
Trump stands his ground
In announcing his measure, turned back on Thursday, Trump said he refused “to give parliamentary representation to foreigners who enter or remain in this country illegally, because that would create perverse incentives and undermine (the) American system of government.” The Supreme Court ruled illegal last year the government’s decision to request the citizenship of the census participants, a question that had not been asked in more than 60 years.