Undocumented immigrants will be excluded from the 2020 census


AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Michelle Lainez, 17, originally from El Salvador but now living in Gaithersburg, Md., speaks during a rally outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. The Supreme Court on Tuesday takes up the Trump administration’s plan to end legal protections that shield nearly 700,000 immigrants from deportation, in a case with strong political overtones amid the 2020 presidential election campaign.

President Donald Trump signed a memorandum Tuesday excluding undocumented immigrants from being counted in the 2020 census in an effort to reapportion Representatives among the states. 

Trump said the memo is a “policy of the United States to exclude from the apportionment base aliens who are not in a lawful immigration status under the Immigration and Nationality Act,” NBC News reported

The memo would exclude an estimated 1.09 million undocumented children and youth currently residing in the United States and 511,000 undocumented immigrants in the state of Illinois. 

Organizations like the Hispanic Federation pushed out a statement in response to the agreement, calling the memorandum both “unconstitutional and unenforceable.”  

“Today’s memorandum from the White House instructing the U.S. Department of Commerce to exclude undocumented immigrants from the 2020 Decennial Census count is yet another tired and sad attempt on the part of the Trump Administration to distract Americans from the real and grave problems our nation is facing,” the Hispanic Federation said in the statement. 

They mentioned the Trump administration attempts to target immigrants and added that the agreement from the administration will never become a reality. 

According to the United States Census 2020, the 2020 Census will determine the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives, the amount of federal funding communities nationwide will receive and will inform businesses on the local community they serve. 

The United States Census further states the 2020 Census result will be used by lawmakers, business owners and other officials to determine the service needs of each community. 

City officials like congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia are encouraging census community involvement for the 4th congressional district and the city of Chicago by launching a social media challenge

The #WeCountWeWinChallenge was launched Monday on Garcia’s Facebook page to inform Chicago’s communities on the city resources that depend on funding from the census. 

In the past, the congressman has called the Trump administration out on its policies that target the immigrant community, saying that he should be held accountable for his attacks.  

Trump’s cruel policies have traumatized migrant children, left innocent people detained indefinitely, and terrorized entire communities with raids and deportations. Instead of holding productive conversations on immigration, Trump has tried to build an ineffective wall and has deployed the National Guard at the border,” Garcia said in a press release. 

Non-profit organizations like Mano a Mano Family Resource Center, whose mission is to empower immigrant families to become full participants in their community, have partnered with schools, libraries, cities and sister organizations to encourage census participation and confidentiality. 

Sandra Diaz, Democracy in Action Program Coordinator, said immigrants are hesitant to respond to the census this year due to fear of providing any form of information to a government agency. 

She said Mano a Mano has been reminding the immigrant community that Census data is protected and cannot be shared with any governmental agency like ICE, FBI, or local law enforcement.

“We also want our community to realize that we have been silent long enough. By responding to the Census, we are confirming that we exist in this country and this is our home,” Diaz said in a statement to The DePaulia/ La DePaulia. “Our response will give our community the funding and the representation that we deserve.”

Like Mano a Mano, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, has been leading Census outreach campaigns since late 2019 to raise community awareness. 

Maria Fitzsimmons, ICIRR’s Census Campaign Director, said ICIRR has trained 1,872 staff and volunteers from 63 partner organizations in what the census is, why it matters, and how to be an effective and persuasive messenger in their communities.

“We have knocked on 60,253 doors and placed 274,593 phone calls to households resulting in 43,641 conversations,” Fitzsimmons said. “As a result, those organizations have assisted 19,980 in completing the Census since March 12.”

Fitzsimmons said Trump’s administration action will not stop ICIRR and it’s Census partners from counting as many community members as possible. 

“Our priority in the next two months is targeting areas with low response rates, which often overlap with immigrant neighborhoods,” she said. “ We will be focusing on areas like Little Village, Back of the Yards, and Brighton Park in Chicago, as well as Waukegan, and Joliet in the suburbs.’

In response to Trump’s memorandum, Diaz from Mano a Mano said every individual has the right to representation in Congress as it is the state representative who oversees daily services and tax funding that affects the everyday life of the public. 

“Trump’s memorandum on excluding undocumented immigrants from redistricting is another attempt at silencing our immigrant communities and cause harm by limiting our representation and funding,” Diaz said. “The US Constitution clearly states that the Census is a count of everyone in the United States and that includes people who are undocumented.”

The DePaulia/ La DePaulia will continue to follow-up on this story as it develops.

Update (7/22/20): La DePaulia has contacted the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and we have yet to hear a response.

Update (7/24/20): A previous version of this story  included the headline “Undocumented immigrants will be omitted from the 2020 census.” The story has since been updated to replace the word “omitted” with “excluded.”

Update (8/06/20): This article has been updated to include a response from the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights about the 2020 Census.