Jul 25, 2020 - Politics & Policy

States would lose House seats if census excludes unauthorized immigrants

 The U.S. Census logo appears on census materials received in the mail with an invitation to fill out census information online
Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California, Texas and Florida would each lose at least one House seat they otherwise would have won if unauthorized immigrants were removed from the U.S. Census count this year, the Pew Research Center found.

Driving the news: The White House is looking to exclude this population, per a new policy announced this week. President Trump said he has discretion to decide who is considered an "inhabitant" of the U.S. for apportionment purposes.

By the numbers: If unauthorized immigrants were not included, California would have a net loss of two seats instead of one. Florida would gain one instead of two, and Texas would gain two instead of three.

  • Alabama, Minnesota and Ohio would each hold onto a seat that they would have lost if allotment were based only on total population change.

The state of play: The U.S. has counted both citizens and noncitizens since its first survey in 1790. It excludes foreign tourists and business travelers in the country temporarily.

  • The District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and U.S. Island area populations are also left out because they don't have voting representation in Congress.
  • Military and civilian federal employees stationed abroad and their dependents are counted if they provide their state address in employment records.

Flashback: Trump ordered the Census Bureau to assemble a separate database on the citizenship status of every U.S. resident after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against including a question about citizenship on the 2020 Census.

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