A top US court has rejected the plan of the incumbent administration’s attempt to sideline undocumented immigrants from being counted in the US census, the ACLU said in a statement on Thursday, hailing the court’s decision as a great victory.
New York’s District Court said in its decision that as long as the undocumented immigrants are in the state, they qualify as the people in the state, who must be counted in the upcoming census. This mandatory survey is held every ten years that is sent to every household in the state.
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Their exclusion from the survey would have affected how many seats each US state gets in the House of Representatives. Meanwhile, the president’s political opposition and critics have accused him of using the census for his political gain in the polls.
In its ruling, the three-judge panel said that Trump must act according to the powers given to him by the Congress. However, this ruling can be challenged in the US Apex Court.
In July, the Republican President signed a memorandum ordering nearly 10.5 million undocumented immigrants across the country, be excluded from being counted when the congressional districts are being redrawn.
The memorandum read, “Excluding these illegal aliens from the apportionment base is more consonant with the principles of representative democracy underpinning our government system.” New York’s federal judges concluded that the president’s decision was unlawful and added that the harm it would cause to the US would last more than a decade.
Moreover, the census is also used to channel federal funding to the immigrant communities. Human rights activists and critics have said that the undercounting means thousands of people will not get financial assistance.
ACLU was among the several human rights groups to file a federal lawsuit against the Trump administration order. On Thursday, the director of ACLU’s voting rights project, Dale Ho, described the court’s decision as a huge victory for immigrant rights.
Ho further added that the president has tried and failed yet again to weaponize the census against immigrants. The American law is very clear and says that “every person counts in the census.”
The attorney general for the state of New York, Letitia James, also welcomed the district court’s decision. James further said in a statement President Trump’s repeated attempts to hinder, impair, and prejudice an accurate census and the subsequent apportionment have failed once again.”
Since coming into power, the incumbent administration has pursued anti-immigration policies, including a ban on Muslim majority countries. However, many policies have also been challenged in the courts.
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