SCOTUS takes up case on whether to exclude undocumented immigrants from census

SCOTUS takes up case on whether to exclude undocumented immigrants from census
(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court is now considering whether President Trump can exclude undocumented immigrants from the 2020 census after arguments were made to the high court Monday.

The census affects major decisions including Congressional representation and how much federal money is given to states for roads, hospitals, schools and more.

President Trump issued a memo earlier this year to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census data.

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“They’re not residents and there’s nothing settled about their residence,” said Jeffrey Wall, Acting Solicitor General for the U.S. Department of Justice.

Several federal courts already ruled that the policy is unconstitutional and the decision is now in the hands of the high court.

Wall told the justices that it’s unclear exactly how many undocumented immigrants would be affected and said it is therefore unclear if or how the new policy would affect federal funding and Congressional representation.

“They don’t know whether it will be 50,000 or 100,000 or 500,000 or a million, so there’s just substantial uncertainty,” Wall said.

Several justices didn’t appear to buy that argument.

“I find the posture of this case quite frustrating,” said Justice Samuel Alito.

“I don’t see how you can represent to us that you don’t think it’s going to be a substantial number,” said Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Attorneys against the President’s policy argued it violates the mandate by Congress to count everyone living in the state.

“This policy ignores the undisputed facts that millions of undocumented immigrants have lived here for decades and have substantial community ties,” said Barbara Underwood, New York Solicitor General. “Their undocumented status doesn’t erase their presence.”

Underwood said the policy would penalize states with large immigrant populations which could lose Congressional seats if undocumented immigrants are not counted.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked President Trump’s efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

A decision in this latest case is expected before the end of the year.