You are reading

Queens Officials Slam Trump Memo Banning Undocumented Immigrants From Counting Toward Congressional Seats

President Donald Trump (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

July 21 2020, By Michael Dorgan

Several Queens officials have slammed President Trump for issuing a memorandum that aims to block undocumented immigrants from being counted when the number of congressional seats are determined following the 2020 census.

The memo, which was issued Tuesday, would exclude undocumented immigrants from the population count used to determine how many seats each state is allocated within the House of Representatives.

The memo does not seek to bar undocumented immigrants from the census but instead directs the Commerce department – which runs the census – to provide the Trump administration with the number of undocumented immigrants in the country. The president aims to exclude them from determining how many seats each state will receive in Congress.

New York, which has a high number of undocumented immigrants, would most likely lose seats under the revised count. In addition, billions of dollars in federal funds that are provided to congressional districts would be lost.

Congresswoman Grace Meng blasted the move as unconstitutional and said she would introduce legislation to block the memo from going into force.

“From the Muslim travel ban to separating families at the U.S. – Mexico border, this president will do anything he can to advance his anti-immigrant agenda, and now he is using reapportionment to expand that cruel and un-American effort,” Meng said in a statement Tuesday.

The Trump administration argues that the constitution does not define who is to be included or not in determining apportionment following the census.

“The discretion delegated to the executive branch to determine who qualifies as an ‘inhabitant’ includes authority to exclude from the apportionment base aliens who are not in a lawful immigration status,” Trump’s memo states.

“Excluding these illegal aliens from the apportionment base is more consonant with the principles of representative democracy underpinning our system of government,” it reads.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney echoed Meng’s remarks and said Trump’s act was an attempt to politicize democratic institutions.

“Taking this step right in the middle of the ongoing Census is particularly egregious and sinister because it appears purposefully designed to depress the count, deter people from filling out their forms, and corrupt the democratic processes on which our nation is founded,” Maloney said in a statement Tuesday.

Maloney said the action would harm entire communities and contradicts sworn testimony by Trump officials that the citizenship question had nothing to do with apportionment purposes.

It is unclear how the Trump administration would gather information on undocumented immigrants given that there is no citizenship question included in the 2020 census. The Trump administration attempted to add a question of citizenship on the 2020 census but the Supreme Court blocked the move last year.

However, the Trump administration may use data compiled by other federal agencies to make a determination. The president issued an executive order following that Supreme Court defeat which ordered several federal agencies to share all available information with the Commerce Department to decipher which respondents are legally in the country and which are not.

Nevertheless, Jackson Heights Council Member Danny Dromm said that the president doesn’t get to choose who is counted on the census.

“When it comes to the United States Census, the Constitution’s mandate is clear: everyone residing in the U.S. must be counted,” Dromm said in a statement Tuesday.

Dromm said the action was little more than a campaign stunt that will be thwarted by the judicial system and voters this November.

Elmhurst Council Member Francisco Moya also said the move was political to gain votes for Republicans.

“All he [Trump] and Republicans care about is that this will help them gerrymander districts to shore up votes and silence immigrant communities,” Moya said in a statement Tuesday.

“Trump doesn’t care about the countless people who depend on the federal programs that will be gouged if this memorandum is followed — programs like Medicare, Medicaid, SNAP, education grants and housing assistance.

Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee joined the chorus of complaints, tweeting that Trump has “perpetually tried to weaponize the census.”

“Queens will not be distracted in our efforts to ensure a full and accurate count,” she wrote.

email the author: [email protected]

2 Comments

Click for Comments 
Danny Perez

Why should individuals who are not citizens of the USA or are here illegally be represented by politicians who serve citizens? This backlash does not make sense. It is only logical that they do not count. Become citizens, pay taxes, vote and then be represented. Very simple.

Reply
McGruff

They are illegal immigrants. They are here illegally. If they would like to be counted and represented become a citizen.

Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Popular places where you can watch the Super Bowl in Queens

Feb. 2, 2023 By Tammy Scileppi

Hey, football fans! Game time is fast approaching, and across the city and here in Queens, you can feel the excitement brewing as the two teams prepare to take the field on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 12. So, kick back and watch the big game, and don’t miss Rihanna’s exciting performance during halftime. 

NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force investigating vandalism at Forest Hills church that has been targeted in the past

The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating a case of criminal mischief at a Forest Hills house of worship in which a vandal threw a rock to intentionally damage its glass front door, according to authorities.

Police say that just before 4 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 29, police from the 112th Precinct were called to Grace Lutheran Church, located at 103-15 Union Tpke., after a man threw a rock and damaged the church’s front door.

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.