Washington, DC – President Trump signed a memorandum yesterday to exclude undocumented immigrant census data from being included in determining the number of representatives a state can have in the US House of Representatives. The Administration has long sought to intimidate and discourage immigrants from participating in the census. The memorandum will eliminate undocumented individuals, including over 100,000 individuals from Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, from the population count when congressional apportionment maps are redrawn. As a result, Southeast Asian American communities may lose thousands of dollars a year in resources for each uncounted person.
Every 10 years, the US government is required to count every person living in the United States through the census. The population count will determine how $1.5 trillion in federal funding will be allocated to communities across the country, in addition to how political districts are redrawn at all levels of government. President Trump’s action is a clear violation of the constitutional mandate to count all residents, regardless of immigration status.
“President Trump’s efforts to ban undocumented immigrants from being counted in the 2020 Census is another attack on immigrants and communities of color and would wrongfully exclude more than 100,000 undocumented Southeast Asian Americans,” said Quyen Dinh, executive director of SEARAC. “The Constitution makes clear that the census must include all residents without identifying immigration status. Similarly, the Constitution does not limit congressional representation to only US citizens. This Administration’s continued attempts to limit census data collection are part of an ongoing political tactic to scare, silence, and erase communities of color. Our communities must be counted fully and accurately in order to receive the critical resources and political representation they are guaranteed.”
Alongside our partners, SEARAC remains committed to ensuring a full and complete count of our communities and to fighting against attempts at census suppression. We cannot afford another 10 years of our communities not receiving their rightful shares of funding and political power, especially in the middle of a public health crisis that will have lasting effects. We encourage community members to participate in the census and call on lawmakers to allow the Census Bureau the appropriate time and resources to count everyone, regardless of immigration status.