(SACRAMENTO, CA, 7/23/20) – The California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CA) today condemned President Donald Trump for directing Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the U.S. Census Bureau, to unconstitutionally bar undocumented immigrants from final census counts used to determine how many members of Congress are apportioned to each state.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision blocked a question about citizenship status from being included in the 2020 census and compelled the Trump administration’s compliance in printing census forms without a citizenship question.

In a memo sent earlier this week, Trump states it will be the “policy of the United States to exclude from the apportionment base aliens who are not in a lawful immigration status under the Immigration and Nationality Act.”

In a statement, CAIR-CA Legislative & Government Affairs Manager Amer Rashid said:

“The Trump administration is yet again attacking immigrants and communities of color. Any proposal to exclude people from the census is unconstitutional on its face and will be subject to legal challenges.

“This move is yet another attempt by Trump to suppress census participation. The memo doesn’t impact who can or can’t take the census; it’s geared toward instilling fear in undocumented communities.

“CAIR-CA and our partners will continue our efforts to ensure everyone is counted so our communities get the funding they need for critical services.

“We successfully united to defeat the citizenship question and we will continue to band together and overcome any political ploys attempting to undermine the Constitution and its clear mandate that every person – ‘person,’ not ‘citizen’ – be counted.”

In a statement, CAIR National Director of Government Affairs Department Robert S. McCaw said:

“CAIR condemns President Trump’s brazen attempt to subvert American law and the Constitution by eliminating from the census those his administration would perceive to be lacking documentation. This memo is yet another example of President Trump’s xenophobic and anti-immigrant agenda attacking communities of color.

“The census counts every living person in America regardless of immigration status. The president lacks the legal authority to change those results. He is grasping at straws and seeking a way to distract the American people, who are trying to survive his administration’s mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

CAIR notes that census enumerators are scheduled to visit non-responding households between Aug. 11-Oct. 31 to ensure a complete and accurate count. Until Oct. 31, 2020, households can continue to respond to the census online or by phone.

CAIR and its nationwide network of chapters, including CAIR-CA, are working with local Islamic centers and Middle Eastern North African (MENA) organizations to help ensure a complete count in 2020.

The 2020 Census, conducted by the Census Bureau, counts every person living inside the United States and five U.S. territories once every 10 years. Information from Census Bureau data affects congressional representation and school district assignments.

Census data also helps determine how more than $675 billion in federal funding is distributed to states and communities in the form of public assistance like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), health, education, transportation, disaster recovery and much more. Faith-based organizations and institutions can also use census data to apply for grants.

CAIR notes that the Census Bureau will never ask for your: Social Security number, bank account or credit card numbers, or money or donations.

While Article 1, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution mandates a decennial census, Title 13 of the U.S. Code protects Americans against any dissemination of personally identifiable information gathered through the census. The Census Bureau does however publish anonymized census statistics about specific demographic groups and their distribution.

CAIR-CA is a chapter of CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice and empower American Muslims.  

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CONTACT: Communications Coordinator Zoha Raza, 408.418.6902, zraza@cair.com; CAIR-SV/CC Communications Manager Kalin Kipling-Mojaddedi, 916-441-6269, kkipling@cair.com; CAIR-LA Communications Manager Eugene Fields, efields@cair.com; CAIR-SD Operations & Development Manager Omair Khan, okhan@cair.com