The Census Bureau likely will struggle to implement President Donald Trump’s executive order to not include undocumented immigrants in the calculations to determine how many seats a state receives in Congress, The Hill reports.
“There is no method that they currently have to do what he wants them to do. So how do you implement his order, if indeed it continues on? That’s really the paramount question,” said Kimball Brace, head of Election Data Services Inc. and an expert on the Census and redistricting.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that the Trump Administration cannot require the Census Bureau to ask respondents if they are citizens, leaving officials with no way to confirm who is an undocumented immigrant, or where they live.
“How are you going to sort out the illegal from the other citizens who are here legally? How are we going to get the estimates of the illegal population? So that seems to me to be highly challenging data collection,” added Michael McDonald, Census expert and associate professor of political science at the University of Florida. “I think it’s a nonstarter just because the data are not going to be available.”
A spokesperson for the White House said that Trump’s executive order requires that any relevant information that could help to count the number of undocumented immigrants be provided to the Census Bureau by various departments and federal agencies, specifically the Department of Homeland Security’s Citizenship and Immigration Services, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Patrol, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Social Security Administration, and two State Department offices.
McDonald noted that any Census figures would have to be ratified by Congress, meaning that “even if the Trump administration presented the numbers to Congress, they don’t have to accept them.”
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