Speed Reads

2020 Census

Trump's bid to exclude immigrants from the 2020 census appears doomed

President Trump's determined effort to exclude undocumented immigrants from the 2020 census has been thwarted at every turn — by the courts, the coronavirus, the Constitution, and now by the clock.

Census Bureau documents released Wednesday by Democrats on the House Oversight Committee suggest that the final apportionment count won't be delivered to the president until at least Jan. 23, three days after President-elect Joe Biden takes office, because of at least 15 data anomalies affecting more than a million census records. Biden opposes Trump's proposed exclusion of non-citizens.

"These anomalies are more serious than first reported," Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) told Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in a letter, threatening to subpoena requested documents on the census if he does not hand them over.

The apportionment data, which will be used to divide the 435 House seats among 50 states, is supposed to be delivered to the president by Dec. 31, but it's been clear for a few weeks that the Census Bureau would miss that deadline. Acting Solicitor General Jeff Wall told the Supreme Court in oral arguments Monday that the bureau would miss the deadline but could deliver some of the data in January.

The Supreme Court blocked Trump in 2019 from adding a citizenship question to the census, and the justices seemed skeptical Monday that Trump can legally exclude undocumented immigrants from the decennial head count. Lower courts have ruled against the exclusion, pointing to the Constitution and its 14th Amendment. The census has never before used citizenship status to apportion congressional representation.

The Census Bureau, in an unsigned statement, did not dispute the authenticity of the documents but said "the estimated date that apportionment data will be complete remains in flux," and "internal tracking documents would not convey the uncertainty around projected dates and may fail to reflect the additional resources employed to correct data anomalies."