US President Donald Trump signed a memorandum on Tuesday that prevents undocumented immigrants from being counted in the redrawing of congressional voting districts following the 2020 census. He provided three core reasons for issuing this order: protecting American democracy, upholding constitutional principles and prioritizing Americans.
In his memorandum, Trump stated that he had the authority to determine the process by which individuals are counted in each state, which in turn determines the number of congressional representatives each state receives. Since the Constitution does not explicitly define which individuals are to be included in apportionment counts, the president may use his judgment to determine who is considered an inhabitant of each state. As a result of this executive power, Trump has made the decision to exclude migrants in the country illegally from the apportionment counts. More specifically, Trump “determined that respect for the law and protection of the integrity of the democratic process warrant the exclusion of illegal aliens from the apportionment base.”
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.
This order could have a significant effect on voting rights and representation in Congress.