Trump Is Trying To Weaponize The U.S. Census Against Undocumented Immigrants

Elly Belle

Even amidst a global pandemic, the Trump administration seems serious about taking away people’s rights. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump signed a presidential memorandum that would exclude undocumented immigrants from being counted in congressional districts when district lines are redrawn next year. The executive order would impact the power each state has in the House of Representatives, which is based around population.

“There used to be a time when you could proudly declare, ‘I am a citizen of the United States. But now, the radical left is trying to erase the existence of this concept and conceal the number of illegal aliens in our country,” Trump said in a statement about the executive order on Tuesday. “This is all part of a broader left-wing effort to erode the rights of Americans citizens, and I will not stand for it. […] My Administration will not support giving congressional representation to aliens who enter or remain in the country unlawfully, because doing so would create perverse incentives and undermine our system of government.”

In addition to targeting immigrants, however, this move also goes against the Constitution, which says that congressional representation is not based around citizenship, but “the whole Number of free Persons.” By trying to change this, it seems Trump is using the Census to stoke fear and once again move to reduce the political power of immigrants in their own communities.

With district maps set to be redrawn in 2021, redistricting will have a serious impact on how elections are won, who can be represented in Congress, and which laws are passed in the future. To say that leaving immigrants out of that would seriously tilt the balance of power in this country, even more than before, would be an understatement.

This memorandum comes in the middle of the 2020 U.S. Census, with reports showing that 62.2% of the country has already responded since April. Besides impacting community power in the future, this move might also scare immigrants who haven’t yet responded away from answering the Census. 

But as quickly as the order was signed, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) already has plans to challenge the memo. Dale Ho, the director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, responded in a statement, saying, “We’ll see him in court, and win, again.” Ho said he’s confident that Trump’s “latest attempt to weaponize the census for an attack on immigrant communities will be found unconstitutional.”

This is not the first time Trump has used the Census to advance his anti-immigrant agenda either. In 2019, he attempted to get a question about citizenship status on the 2020 census at the Supreme Court. States like California and New York argued that the question would turn immigrant communities away from answering and cost state governments critical funding.

At the time, Trump also suggested that data could be used to more properly redraw districts based on the number of eligible voters within them. The Supreme Court ultimately rejected the attempt to put a citizenship question on the survey. This latest memorandum only seems to be a continuation of that effort to suppress immigrant communities’ participation in government.

Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

California To Give Migrants Relief Aid

We Can’t Ignore Undocumented Immigrants Any More

Why Trump Is Backing Away From His Immigration Ban

More From

  • Coronavirus Mansion Parties Are Yet Another Symptom Of The Disease Of American Capitalism!!

    When YouTube star Jake Paul hosted a party at his California mansion in the middle of a pandemic two weeks ago, he garnered the ire of the mayor of Calabasas and local police. But the legal ramifications were not enough to get him to stop hosting ragers in the coronavirus hotspot. According to Paul, that’s just not how he lives. “I’m not the type of person who’s gonna sit around and not live my life,” Paul explained in an interview with Insider. And on Wednesday, just two week’s after Paul’s party, FBI are now investigating his home. Paul is not the only ultra-wealthy, extremely privileged American to be flouting lockdown rules. On Monday, another mansion party in L.A. that boasted over 100 guests also ended badly, with one person killed by gunshot and another four injured, demonstrating some of the other risks of massive underground parties during such precarious times. While the outcomes of both events were inherently different, they share a reckless quality, one that exposes the carelessness of privilege. Earlier in the pandemic, stories and photos of similarly large gatherings went viral on social media, with an accompanying degree of condemnation, as people called out the “dumb hicks” in Kentucky and Alabama hosting “coronavirus parties,” or folks traveling for a Memorial Day rager at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. But now, the viral party stories aren’t centered around average people, and are instead squarely focused on the elite. Just weeks after attending a maskless Bridgehampton party and testing positive for coronavirus, Trump re-election campaign advisor and girlfriend to Don Jr, Kimberly Guilfoyle is planning to host fundraisers in the Hamptons. And, Ashley Taylor Bronczek, a Washington D.C. socialite, threw a party at her home for over two dozen people after the Washington Ballet’s online fundraiser, which she co-chaired; after the event, Bronczek and several guests tested positive for the virus. Also, late last month, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon DJed a “drive-in” Chainsmokers concert in the Hamptons with “thousands of people in close proximity,” according to CBS News. Finally, in the very wealthy town of Greenwich, Connecticut, parties hosted by teens have led to a jump in coronavirus cases.Obviously these wealthy party-goers are not the only ones ignoring the rules of how to act like a compassionate human during a pandemic. For his part, President Trump was only seen wearing a mask in public for the first time last month. But as we close in on six-months of enduring this global emergency, one thing is clear: Coronavirus is not a great equalizer when it comes to class, and it’s only further exposing the massive divide between the rich and the poor in this country. That’s why these mansion parties feel so particularly frustrating to witness: They’re examples of the behavior of privileged people acting like they are exempt from the rules that govern most of us, because, well, they always have been. Ultra-rich people break rules more often, Brad Klontz, a psychologist who works with millionaires and billionaires, told the New York Times in 2017. “They have this feeling that rules don’t apply to them, although that mind-set is often the key to much of their success,” Klontz said. “If they’re told something can’t be done a certain way, they think that doesn’t apply to them and find a way around it.”That type of entitlement — combined with the utter failure of our government to contain the virus when it had the chance — has resulted in an ongoing public health crisis in which the people who know they can take risks will continue to do so, even if it jeopardizes the lives of those who literally can’t afford to take risks at all. Paul admitted as much when asked about his mansion party: “No one has answers, our leadership is failing us, and everyone kind of just doesn’t know what to do.”Except, of course, that for someone who has all the privileges in the world, there are ways of knowing what to do and what not to do. There is no way to think that throwing a huge party right now is a good idea. But capitalism — a system from which Paul and all these other party-throwers directly benefits — doesn’t teach you that you get ahead by caring about other people. And the pandemic, which is making the rich richer and the poor poorer, is clearly not teaching them that either. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Kentucky Had A Coronavirus Party That Ended BadlyMissouri Pool Party Causes Massive Travel AdvisoryKimberly Guilfoyle Under Fire With Trump Campaign

  • WNBA Players Are Protesting Against This Republican Senator — & For Good Reason

    As players from across professional sports participate in league-approved protests, like wearing “Black Lives Matter” or “Equality” on the back of their uniforms or kneeling before the anthem, the WNBA is escalating matter by directly targeting the owner of one of the league’s teams: Republican Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who is an owner of the Atlanta Dream and running for re-election in November. On Tuesday, players from teams across the league, including the Dream, showed up to their games wearing shirts that said “Vote Warnock” — as in Dr. Raphael G. Warnock, the Democrat running against Loeffler for her Senate seat.“The truth is, we need less — not more politics in sports,” Loeffler wrote. Last week, Loeffler also gave an interview to host Jack Posobiec, coming out even more strongly against the Black Lives Matter movement. “I felt some of the recent actions that the league has taken has really moved to divide us further at this moment when I think sports could be such a powerful, uniting force for our country,” she told Posobiec in the interview. Loeffler has also repeatedly used racist language by calling Black people open-carrying “mob rule” and referring to people in support of the movement for Black lives a “woke mob.”The WNBA is over 80 percent Black, and its players have been advocates for social justice for a very long time. After the league announced they were dedicating their season to Black Lives Matter and SayHerName, Loeffler penned a letter to league Commissioner Cathy Engelbert urging her to scrap those plans and focus instead on the imagery of American flags. Following these incidents in defiance of the entire Black Lives Matter movement from Loeffler and her campaign, several players took to Twitter calling on the league to eject her from ownership. “Kelly Loeffler is the anti-movement. She represents what happens when people choose the identity of whiteness over everything else,” New York Liberty player Layshia Clarendon wrote for The Undefeated. “She was OK with owning our team. She was OK with having players who spoke out, like I have, but she is not OK with us gaining this momentum and power.” But, after Engelbert said they wouldn’t force Loeffler to sell, players took matters into their own hands, donning shirts to endorse Loeffler’s opponent. The idea for the shirts originated with Seattle Storm veteran and 11-time WNBA All-Star Sue Bird. Coaches were made aware of the action beforehand, but it is unclear whether Dream co-owner Mary Brock was. Before endorsing Warnock, players had several Zoom calls with him to ensure he was someone whose policies they could get behind. “He’s pro reproductive rights, for criminal justice reform, and pro LGBTQ+ rights,” Clarendon tweeted.> I am honored and humbled by the overwhelming support from the @WNBA players. This movement gives us the opportunity to fight for what we believe in, and I stand by all athletes promoting social justice on and off the court. BlackLivesMatter> > — Reverend Raphael Warnock (@ReverendWarnock) August 4, 2020“When we realized what our owner was doing and how she was kind of using us and the Black Lives Matter movement for her political gain, we felt like we didn’t want to feel kind of lost as the pawns in this,” Elizabeth Williams, who has played for the Dream since 2016, told the New York Times.Loeffler responded by calling the players’ actions “more proof that the out of control cancel culture wants to shut out anyone who disagrees with them,” ironically accusing the players of being “more interested in playing politics than basketball.”Loeffler is running in a November special election against 20 candidates to keep her Senate seat, which she was appointed to last year after Johnny Isakson stepped down due to health problems. Her main competition is actually the other Republican fighting for the seat, Doug Collins, and the two have been vying to make themselves the most obviously pro-Trump; Collins has used Loeffler’s ownership of the Dream against her, pointing out that the WNBA partnered with Planned Parenthood and using that fact to paint Loeffler as “pro abortion.”A poll last week showed Loeffler leading Collins with 26 percent of the vote to his 20 percent; Warnock is polling with just 9 percent of the vote, but the WNBA plans to continue campaigning for him throughout the coming weeks. > You can’t tell us to stick to sports while a sitting senator owns one of our teams! 🙄 It’s one thing to sell a team, it’s another thing to flip a senate senate seat. @RevWarnock is the democratic candidate running for senate in Georgia.> > — Layshia Clarendon (@Layshiac) August 5, 2020It is unclear whether the league will reprimand the players for their action; in 2017, when players wore “Black Lives Matter” shirts during warmups, they were fined for violating the league’s uniform policy, which they then protested with post-game media blackouts.But this action — of players openly campaigning against their owner — is an unprecedented example of the kind of collective labor power that athletes have but so rarely come together to use. The women of the WNBA are doing just that — another example of women, and Black women in particular, being at the forefront of justice movements and paving the way for everyone else. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Idaho Is In A Legal Battle To Block Trans AthletesWomen Athletes Are On The Frontlines Of ProtestsUSAG's Reckoning Isn't Over, Athlete A Reveals

  • Alicia Keys Is Officially Launching A Lifestyle Beauty Brand

    Alicia Keys’ naturally glowy complexion has always made us wonder what beauty products the singer-songwriter has in rotation, even before she first committed to going without makeup in 2016. Now, Keys’ dedication to the beauty revolution is going one step further with the upcoming launch of a lifestyle beauty brand, announced today in conjunction with e.l.f. Beauty.Not to be mistaken for a collaboration, Keys will be launching her very own brand under the e.l.f. Beauty portfolio, which acquired W3LL People earlier this year. The company dropped the news today, revealing that the line is expected to launch in 2021. “We are beyond thrilled to leverage our strengths to help realize Alicia’s vision, as it not only aligns with our mission to make the best of beauty accessible but infuses it with an even deeper dimension,” said Tarang Amin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, e.l.f. Beauty, in a press statement. While we don’t know the specific categories Keys will be entering or the name of the brand just yet, we do know that the formulations will be dermatologist-developed and cruelty-free, according to the company. The fact that it’s operating under the e.l.f. umbrella might also suggest that the prices will be wallet-friendly, like the company’s two other brands.Keys’ new venture will also have a lifestyle component, as the press release explains: “A culmination of Keys’ personal skincare journey and her passion for bringing light into the world, this new lifestyle beauty brand will enable Alicia to further explore conversations about inner beauty, wellness and connection…. The brand aims to bring new meaning to beauty by honoring ritual in our daily life and practicing intention in every action.” Keys hasn’t officially spoken out about the announcement, but we’re eagerly awaiting product specifics — and following the news closely for more updates in the future.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

  • The Lincoln Project Isn’t Good For America — It’s Only Good For Self-Pitying Republicans

    In an era where our country is divided at historically high levels, there seems to be one thing that draws people in across party lines, across generations, and larger political beliefs – voting Donald Trump out of office. On Wednesday, social media campaign LincolnVoter trended on Twitter as hoards of people started sharing their stories of switching their vote from Republican to Democrat. “Converts” converged to open up about what made them switch. “I left the party when Trump was nominated,” one person wrote. “I’m 50 and have never voted for a Democrat as president…until this year,” tweeted another. As the hashtag began garnering a massive amount of support from supposed Republicans who are “switching” their votes in the 2020 election to endorse Joe Biden, questions amounted about the Lincoln Project and what their motivations are. Particularly, is the Lincoln Project here to create actual political change in America that will benefit the masses, or is it a bunch of Republicans throwing themselves a pity party? Let’s investigate.The Lincoln Project is a conservative super PAC that aims to “defeat President Trump and Trumpism at the ballot box” in 2020, according to In the words of its founders, the organization draws its inspiration from the 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, who “understood the necessity of not just saving the Union, but also of knitting the nation back together spiritually as well as politically.” The Lincoln Project presents “sectionalism in the country and factionalism in government” as the source of the problem and voting out Trump as the solution. “Only defeating so polarizing a character as Trump will allow the country to heal its political and psychological wounds and allow for a new, better path forward for all Americans,” reads the Lincoln Project’s website. Its mission statement continues by saying that the organization’s founders still maintain policy differences with national Democrats, but it is committed to defeating candidates who do not honor constitutional oaths, regardless of party affiliation. Basically, they would rather disagree over policy than keep someone in office that they believe does not act according to the pledges the United States makes to its residents.The group of eight founders, including White House counselor Kellyanne Conway’s husband George Conway, is largely made up of political strategists, communications consultants, and state-level Republican party positions. As a super PAC, the Lincoln Project can accept unlimited contributions and counts billionaire hedge fund manager Stephen Mandel Jr., film studio executive David Geffen, and Silicon Valley venture capitalist Michael Moritz among its list of donors. Because of its status, it cannot coordinate with campaigns on its independent expenditures. So why would an organization made up of Republicans want to get voters to support a Democratic candidate? They hope to appeal to Trump-skeptical conservatives who might respond to ads mirroring Republican language and iconography. In an interview with Vox, Lincoln Project communications director Keith Edwards said the project had no plans beyond defeating Trump. “We are focused [on] making sure Trump is a one-term president and ensuring Biden takes the oath of office in January. We’re not thinking of anything beyond that.” Emphasis on: “We’re not thinking of anything beyond that.”With campaign operatives possessing deep ties to the pre-Trump GOP, many are wary — and for good reason. Lincoln Project board members worked on campaigns for George H. W. Bush as well as George W. Bush. Both of those campaigns used the same fear-mongering ad tactics used by Trump’s campaign that the Lincoln Project now appears to detest. So, prior to wanting Trump out of office, board members used strategies that look very similar to those that Trump is using to get reelected, and used them to push largely Republican agendas.Another criticism of the organization is that much of the millions it has raised reportedly goes toward high ad production costs and firms run by members of the Lincoln Project’s board. According to Open Secrets, the Lincoln Project spent $1.4 million in March 2020. Almost all of that went to the group’s board members and firms run by them. Little is spent on direct political activity.But perhaps the most baffling part of the Lincoln Project, and their campaign for LincolnVoters, is the masquerade that the super PAC is suddenly promoting a Democratic agenda. But they are not: While their motives might seem unclear to the naked Twitter onlooker, this is a classic case of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” The group’s support of candidates who oppose values often rooted in Democratic policies, like abortion or reproductive rights, is storied. Now, they are trying to turn voters by using those same values against them.“This is about doing the right thing for our country and that goes back to embracing Biblical principles, such as loving and caring for each other,” Sarah Lenti, executive director at the Lincoln Project told Politico.The group, in truth, is interested in ousting Trump, which appeals to both party lines in a seemingly unifying way. But the motivation behind LincolnVoters seems more self-serving for the project itself: They are promoting a right wing platform under the guise of a Democratic endorsement for Joe Biden, which comes across as self-congratulatory for Republicans that have long-opposed (and still oppose) progressive policies, but just happen to dislike our current president in all his ineptitude. It’s also become a space on Twitter for “Republicans” (in truth, we don’t know who these tweeters really are) to pity themselves for having a party leader like Trump, and explain away their motives for voting differently this election.I digress, the nearly 20k tweets in support of switching votes from Republican to Democrat gives us all some hope in these TryingTimes. But it can also be an illusion that will entice fewer people to vote come in the general election if there’s a wide belief that Biden has this one in the bag (remember 2016?). So, just because it seems like fewer people are voting for Trump now, don’t be fooled into thinking you don’t need to vote. Every vote counts!Refinery29 reached out to the Lincoln Project for comment.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Republicans Are Using COVID To Try To Ban ProtestsKellyanne Conway's Husband Is Trying To Oust TrumpIs Trump's Administration Violating The Hatch Act?