Everybody should be counted because everybody counts

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The Trump administration continues to prosecute its malicious and reckless campaign of anti-immigrant regulations, its assaults on the U.S. Constitution and its punitive stance toward states with large populations of immigrants. And as people of conscience, we must adhere to our values and work to thwart the administration’s goals.

First, the Trump administration tried to include a question regarding citizenship on the 2020 Census — a clear effort to discourage participation from the undocumented population. But in June 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court checked that ambition and no such question is now on the form. But the president has changed tacks and has found another way of perverting the purity and purpose of the census — which is to undertake a count of all residents in the United States.

Pres. Donald Trump has ordered the exclusion of unauthorized immigrants when determining the population county used to divide up seats in Congress among the states. This is a radical move that departs from clearly established precedent.

When the Census began in 1790, Africans who were excluded from American citizenship, were counted as three-fifths of a person for purposes of apportioning representation in the U.S. House. Native Americans, who were not afforded universal citizenship until 1924, also were counted in prior censuses. In other words, never has it been this country’s policy to exclude non-citizens from the census count.

“And it should not be policy now,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “We must not let this happen. The consequences for Californians would be severe in terms of lost federal representation and federal revenue.”

To that end, the Supervisor is calling on the National Association of Counties (NACO) and the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) to intervene where possible.

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas has formally requested that NACO and CSAC take action to oppose the Presidential Memorandum excluding non-citizens from the apportionment base following the 2020 United States Census.

“Trump’s goal may already be accomplished — create so much fear and confusion that undocumented immigrants, or even families with undocumented immigrants, won’t participate,” he said. “But that would be a tragedy. Everybody should be counted because everybody counts.”