MCALLEN, Texas – If President Donald Trump succeeds in getting undocumented immigrants excluded from Census 2020, Texas will lose a congressional seat.

Last Tuesday Trump issued a  memorandum seeking to bar people in the U.S. without the proper papers from being included in the current headcount.

California and Florida would also end up with one less congressional seat each than if every resident were counted, according to an analysis by the Pew Research.

The Austin American-Statesman said that without the inclusion of undocumented immigrants, California would lose two seats instead of one, Florida would gain one seat instead of two and Texas would gain two seats instead of three.

Additionally, the Pew analysis shows Alabama, Minnesota and Ohio would each keep a congressional seat they most likely would have lost during the process of divvying up congressional seats by state known as apportionment, which takes place after the U.S. Census Bureau completes its once-a-decade head count of every U.S. resident, according to the newspaper. 

The Census Bureau currently is in the middle of the 2020 census.

The president’s memorandum is likely to be challenged in court. Many legal schools say the order will not stand up to legal muster because of a provision in the U.S. Constitution that says everyone in the country must be counted.

The idea of not including undocumented immigrants in the Census 2020 count has enraged border leaders.

Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz, a former chairman of the Texas Border Coalition, said:  “The President has made clear what his intentions are with his recent memo. He wants to scare vulnerable communities back into the shadows. His order not to include ‘undocumented persons’ on the Census count requires a determination as to who is in fact legal, thus prompting again the citizenship question debate.”

Saenz said Laredo and other border communities “stand to lose millions” in federal funding and community programs if we are not fully counted. 

“Not being counted and losing out in these funds will have chilling effects for an entire generation of children, students, struggling families, the elderly and other community members. Our representation in Washington is also at risk if we are not fully counted. So I ask all residents of Laredo – fill out the Census and get counted. The law is on your side; Your information is secure and your status will not be jeopardized. Progress comes to those who work for it.”

Congressman Vicente Gonzalez of McAllen said Trump’s order to prohibit undocumented individuals from being counted as part of Census 2020 was illegal and unconstitutional order  

“The Constitution is clear: the Census is meant to count every person living in the United States regardless of immigration status,” Gonzalez said.

“There is no doubt that this memorandum is a distraction intended to divert Americans’ attention away from Mr. Trump’s failings as president. This order is a hallmark of his xenophobic and politically-motivated immigration policies.”

Gonzalez said that at the end of the day, the Census is meant to help every person living in this country. 

“It is responsible for the allocation of billions in federal resources for schools, hospitals and critical programs people in this country depend on. This should not be a wedge issue.”

State Rep. Rafael Anchía of Dallas is chair of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus. He said the Trump memo counters the constitutional mandate that requires the “whole number of persons in each state” to be counted in the decennial census under the 14th Amendment

Anchía said Texas is estimated to have 1.6 million undocumented immigrants. He said estimates show that even a one percent undercount could result in a yearly loss of at least $300 million in federal funding for Texas. 

“It’s clear the Trump Administration is willing to abuse their power to circumvent the U.S. Constitution and gain an upper hand in rigging future political maps. We urge Governor Abbott and all elected leaders to immediately denounce another attempt by this administration to play politics with the 2020 Census,” Anchía said.

“The Trump Administration’s latest maneuver will only create greater fear amongst hard-to-count communities in completing the census and risking billions in federal resources  in the process. Over two million children were not counted in the 2010 census. A rule change aimed to purposely increase that undercount will lose Texas critical federal funding for the next ten years that help fund child care, neighborhood schools, and the children’s health insurance program.”

Anchía pointed out that the Trump administration failed in attempts to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. 

“With these continued attempts to alter the official count, the Trump Administration is intentionally aiming to withhold federal resources from Texas and other states with large Black, Latino, and hard to count populations,” Anchía added.

As of July 21, 2020, Texas ranks 39th in census completion according to the Census Bureau, lagging behind other large states like California and Florida. Estimates provide that the 2020 Census will help direct over $43.3 billion to Texas communities if an accurate and complete count is completed. 

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows the City of McAllen’s Complete Count Committee for Census 2020.

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