WASHINGTON (PM) — The Supreme Court ordered Thursday that the Trump administration cannot incorporate a citizenship question into the 2020 census, that every U.S. household receives, providing a victory to populous states that stated they would dissuade legal and illegal immigrants from answering and make the population count less accurate.
The ruling was a hindrance for the Trump administration’s hardened position on immigration. It was also an astonishment because it appeared in April when the case was argued that the court’s five-member right-wing majority was equipped to dictate that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross acted within his authority to add the question. They appeared to conform with the Justice Department that Ross’ decision was a reasonable one, weighing the need for more information over matters about accuracy. But in the ruling Thursday, the court decided that while the department of commerce has a claim to restore the question, it did not give sufficient justification for doing so.
A census is required every ten years by the Constitution, and the outcomes determine the proportion of each state’s congressional delegation. The data is also used to determine a local government’s percentage of funds under many federal programs.
A total of 18 states, many of the nation’s largest cities and immigrant rights groups appealed to block the question, stating it would make immigrants unwilling to answer and return the census mailer. As a consequence, states with large immigrant communities could drop seats in Congress and experience cuts in government aid programs, their lawsuit said.