Last week, the Trump Administration announced its intention to exclude undocumented immigrants from the population counts used to reapportion and create Congressional districts. It is the latest unconstitutional effort from a president who has made it his mission to prioritize party over people, politics over government and autocracy over the republic.
Texas House Democratic Caucus Chair Chris Turner (D-Grand Prairie) released a letter sent to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton comprehensively breaking down why this policy is amoral, illegal and particularly damaging to Texas’ already tenuous financial situation.
This move has already been decried by the American Civil Liberties Union, and is likely to end tied up in the court system, much like his previous attempts to stifle undocumented immigrants from participating in the Census with a citizenship question.
This new memorandum from the president was almost certainly designed to create more GOP-friendly districts, with the secondary advantage of furthering his immigrant-attacking agenda. It willfully ignores the original text of the Constitution, which only referred to counting “numbers” in states, not citizens or legal residents.
Beyond the partisan impact, if Trump’s plan goes into effect, our state stands to lose out on new Congressional seats that we should be gaining due to our population growth. In turn, we lose influence both in Congress and in electing future presidents.
It is our state attorney general’s responsibility to fight the federal government on our behalf, even when doing so means choosing justice over party loyalty. Given his anti-immigrant history and his loyalty to Trump, we can’t expect current Attorney General Ken Paxton to protect the rights of all Texans to be counted in the Census, regardless of citizenship status.
But there are arguments out there for fighting this bigoted policy that should resonate with Paxton. There is nothing Texas’ Attorney General loves more than to sue the federal government. Organizing another lawsuit against the Trump Administration over this Census policy would be right up his alley, although in this case, the suit would not be frivolous.
Should this policy be implemented, Texas would stand to lose millions of dollars in federal funding that provides necessary services. Especially given the uncertainty of the state’s economy, this loss would be devastating to our health care system, our foster care programs and our infrastructure — just to name a few.
Ken Paxton, who has already proved to be more loyal to money than to the state, should be motivated to ensure Texas gets what it’s owed.
Attorney General Paxton works for Texas and for all Texans, not for the Trump Administration. He must take immediate action to protect our state, and prioritize people over senseless, political action.
Image courtesy of 2020census.com.