President Trump’s attempt to demand the Census Bureau produce a 2020 count that doesn’t include illegal immigrants is illegal, a panel of federal judges ruled Thursday, delivering another blow to the administration’s attempts to shape the census.
The judges, acting unanimously, flatly declared Mr. Trump’s July 21 directive unlawful, saying they hoped such a firm statement would also help alleviate fears that illegal immigrants and others might decline to respond to the census.
Mr. Trump had wanted the census to still produce its normal count of all residents, but also to produce another count excluding illegal immigrants. That count, he said, should be used to apportion seats in the House of Representatives.
But the judges said that violates laws Congress has written making clear the full count should be used for apportionment.
It’s the second setback for Mr. Trump, who last year saw his bid to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census crumble because, the Supreme Court ruled, he didn’t check all the right procedural boxes.
“When it comes to matters of the Census, the scoreboard reads: immigrant advocates 2, Trump 0,” said Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, one of the groups that sued to stop both census-shaping attempts.
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