OCA Opposes Memorandum Excluding Undocumented Immigrants from Redistricting and Census Counts
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
21 July 2020
Contact: Matthew Nguyen-Ngo | Civil Rights Fellow
202.223.5500 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, DC - OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates condemns in the strongest possible terms a new memorandum from the Trump Administration that would exclude undocumented immigrants from the 2020 Census and subsequent voting districts. This memorandum would exclude and disenfranchise approximately 10.7 million immigrants, who are overwhelmingly people of color, and of whom 1.7 million are Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs).
Originally created to apportion representatives between the states, the Census is a count of the “whole number of persons in each state,” as described in the 14th Amendent of the Constitution. The Constitution does not include any kind of exception based on citizenship or immigration status, and therefore the Census is constitutionally required to include undocumented residents, temporary workers, and even tourists. To exclude any person in the U.S. from the Census count is patently unconstitutional.
Beyond providing us with strong disaggregated demographic data, the Census profoundly influences our democracy and policy outcomes at all levels of government for the next decade. It is used to decide:
Apportionment of representation in the House of Representatives.
Distribution of federal funding for “schools, hospitals, roads, public works and other vital programs.”
Business decisions in the private sector that affect the placement of “factories, offices and stores.”
We expect the likely-unconstitutional memorandum to spark further legal battles in an already confusing election and census year. Like the failed citizenship question, this move is mainly intended to chill census and election participation by undocumented immigrants and their voter-eligible communities.
By excluding millions of undocumented immigrants who support families, contribute to their communities, pay taxes, and perform essential labor, the President’s memorandum will deprive localities of the resources and congressional representation they need to help marginalized communities thrive. This is a clear attempt from a historically anti-immigrant administration to further entrench the political and economic disenfranchisement of undocumented immigrants, who are predominantly working class people of color.
“It’s just plain unconstitutional to exclude anyone from the Census,” says Executive Director Rita Pin Ahrens. “These renewed efforts by the Administration to deter Census completion will be met with strong resistance. We know that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are already the least likely to complete their census questionnaires, and OCA will double down our efforts to get the word out for a fair and complete count of all community members across the country.”
OCA–Asian Pacific American Advocates is a national civil rights organization dedicated to improving the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs).
View this statement online here.
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