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Policy Summary

On July 21, President Trump signed a Memorandum that would exclude undocumented immigrants from the US Census. Congressional districts are set to be redrawn in 2021, so this effectively bars undocumented immigrants from being included in this count. Persuading immigrant communities to partake in the US Census has been a battle and many civil rights groups expressed that  only recently were they able to communicate the benefits of the US Census to immigrants many of whom are suspicious about filling out the Census form.

President Trump attempted in 2019 to include a question on the US Census where individuals were to disclose if they were in the US legally (legal immigration or citizen) or illegally. This was shut down, but the Trump Administration has been relentless in its anti-immigration endeavors.  Trump will have reduced legal immigration by 49% next year if current policies continue. The ACLU and CASA have already made statements about their plans to take Trump’s order to court and challenge the Memorandum as unconstitutional. According to the US Constitution, Congressional Representation is to be determined based on “the whole number of free persons” not only those who are American citizens. While, this basis is outdated and overtly still a slavery-era provision, it explicitly dictates immigrants’ rights to be included in the Congressional redrawing of districts to occur in 2021.

Analysis

Weaponizing the US Census will harm employers and the national economy as well as immigrant communities. The US labor force and our economic growth is intrinsically tied to migrant workers ability to live and work in the US. If the anti-immigration policies continue, the average annual labor force growth is on track to lower by 59%. During a global pandemic that has undoubtedly rocked the US medical system, economy, and academic institutions, this decline would only further US economic depression and unemployment.

Engagement Resources

  • The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.
  • Border Network for Human Rights: network to engage education, organization and participation of border communities to defend human rights and work towards a society where everyone is equal in rights and dignity.
  • The ACLU: a non-profit with a longstanding commitment to preserving and protecting the individual rights and liberties the Constitution and US laws guarantee all its citizens. You can also donate monthly to counter Trump’s attacks on people’s rights. Recently, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the separation of families at the border.
  • Center for Disease Control: the CDC provides updated information surrounding COVID-19 and the US responses
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