Census changes raise questions for states holding 2021 elections


Judges in New York aggressively questioned the Trump Administration today about its plan to exclude undocumented immigrants from the final census tally used to determine congressional seats and much more. The lawsuit against the president's memorandum, which came out in July, was filed by New York state on behalf of more than 20 other states as well. A cities like Chicago and immigrant groups to NPR's Hansi Lo Wong covers the census and he listened to the virtual hearing. Nancy. Thank you so much for joining us this afternoon. Thank you for having me. Jamie, can you remind us first? What the president's July memorandum actually says it calls for an unprecedented change. Toothy apportionment count. This is the set of census numbers used to determine how many seats each state gets once every 10 years that redistribution of congressional seats. The Constitution. 14th amendment specifically calls for the whole number of persons in each state to be included in that count. Resident trumps memo that he put out in July calls for unauthorized immigrants to be excluded from that count, and it specifically directs the Commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, who oversees a Census Bureau to come up with information to provide to the president. That would allow the president to carry out that policy. Well, that gives us a bit of a sense of what went on in court today, but drill down on it a bit. What did each side argue? And how did the judges react? It was a fairly speedy hearing. But the main issue here the judges were trying to figure out how quickly and when. Exactly, they have to rule on this that the clock is really ticking. And these plaintiffs are arguing that they need a ruling as soon as possible because they say that this memo is already hurting ongoing census efforts and the trouble administrations attorneys with the Justice Department. They're arguing that The judges don't have to rush and that any decision should really wait until the president receives any information from the commerce secretary. But another part of the equation here is that the 2020 census forms have you taken a look at them? There's no question about a person's immigration status, so the Census Bureau has been collecting information for this year's count. Without knowing. What a person's immigration status is so judges were really pushing hard on the Justice Department attorney to explain Does this promise you should have a plan? Justice Barman said. No. Nothing definitive yet. There was really tough questioning, and it sounded like based on the questions that the judges were really skeptical of the Trump Administration's arguments. Well

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