Jan 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden to overturn Trump order excluding undocumented immigrants from census

Biden speaking in New Castle, Delaware, on Jan. 19.
Biden speaking in New Castle, Delaware, on Jan. 19. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President-elect Biden will sign an executive order Wednesday to revoke the Trump administration’s plan to exclude non-citizens from the census and apportionment of Congressional representatives.

The state of play: The order aims to ensure the Census Bureau has ample time to complete an accurate population count for each state, and introduce an apportionment that is deemed fair and accurate to Congress so that federal resources are efficiently and fairly distributed.

Why it matters: Biden's order marks the end of the Trump administration's efforts to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census in an attempt to skew the results in favor of Republicans.

Context: The question was not included after the Supreme Court ruled in June 2019 that the Trump administration could not add the question until it offered a better justification for its inclusion.

  • Critics argued its inclusion would deter immigrants in the U.S. illegally from participating in the Census, meaning the district they reside in would be undercounted and potentially deprived of federal funding.
  • Thomas Hofeller, a GOP strategist who helped research the question, concluded in 2015 that the question would "clearly be a disadvantage to the Democrats" and "advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites."

The big picture: After the Supreme Court prevented the Trump administration from including the question, Trump ordered all U.S. agencies to provide the Commerce Department with data about the citizenship status of every person living in the country.

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