Editor’s note: When it comes to immigration — illegal or otherwise — the American people have a right to be concerned. Liberty Nation author Kelli Ballard examines contentious issues related to today’s hottest topic.
Even the left has to admit that President Donald Trump has doggedly kept to his 2016 campaign promises: draining the Swamp, increasing jobs, and stemming the tide of illegal immigration. Nothing, it seems, has distracted the commander in chief from his goals: not impeachment, the COVID-19 pandemic, or the civil unrest after the murder of George Floyd. On July 21, the president took another step in protecting Americans by signing an order that prevents illegal aliens from being counted in the 2020 census for the “purpose of apportionment.”
Trump has repeatedly warned that those in the United States without proper authority, and the migrant flood trying to force its way in, are security threats dangerous to our way of life. He said:
“There used to be a time when you could proudly declare, ‘I am a citizen of the United States.’ But now, the radical left is trying to erase the existence of this concept and conceal the number of illegal aliens in our country.
“This is all part of a broader left-wing effort to erode the rights of American citizens, and I will not stand for it.”
The Ins and Outs
Last year, the Supreme Court blocked the administration’s attempt to include a question about citizenship status on the 2020 census — not because it was racist, as opponents argued, but because a valid argument was not provided by the Commerce Department, which administers the survey. Now Team Trump has galloped ahead with a similar approach, this time preventing illegal aliens from being counted for the purpose of reapportionment and redistricting. The order states that “it is the policy of the United States to exclude from the apportionment base aliens who are not in a lawful immigration status … to the maximum extent feasible and consistent with the discretion delegated to the executive branch.”
The president’s order to the federal government to collect information that would give a more accurate description of citizenship data, which was to be compiled with the census count, is presumed to be used to help determine a state’s true illegal immigrant count.
Part of the push is to make sure states don’t get more congressional seats than they should. The memorandum explained, “Estimates suggest that one State — home to more than 2.2 million illegal aliens — could receive two or three more congressional seats than would otherwise be allocated.” Let’s take a wild guess and propose the order refers to California. The census is also important because the amount of federal funding allocated is determined by the state’s population.
A Battle On the Way?
Democrats and other immigrant activists argue that the undocumented need to be counted to provide enough funding for public services, including education and health care. It would be a miracle if Dems didn’t rush to the nearest courthouse to file a lawsuit against this new order. What with miracles in short supply lately, we can expect to see protests begin at any time.
In all likelihood, this order will be brought before a court promptly. Does Trump have a legal leg to stand on? How will the president’s team defend the order to the court so that it isn’t blocked like the previous citizenship-question debacle? For answers, we turned to Liberty Nation‘s Legal Affairs Editor Scott D. Cosenza, who said:
“‘[T]he whole number of free persons,’ and ‘the whole number of persons in each state,’ that’s who the Constitution says to count in the census. It seems the Trump administration will have to explain how ‘persons’ mean ‘citizens of the United States.’ It’s not a job I would relish as the founders and those who voted on the 14th Amendment surely knew that persons did mean something other than citizens. The administration must argue they yet still chose the former while meaning the latter.”
Yes, it’s going to be another epic battle, but perhaps the Trump administration is holding some cards we have yet to see. Still, the president is adamant that illegal immigrants should not be a factor in determining congressional seats and disbursing federal funds. As he described:
“Today’s action to exclude illegal aliens from the apportionment base reflects a better understanding of the Constitution and is consistent with the principles of our representative democracy. My Administration will not support giving congressional representation to aliens who enter or remain in the country unlawfully, because doing so would create perverse incentives and undermine our system of government. 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.”
Read more from Kelli Ballard.