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New York state Attorney General Letitia James on Friday spearheaded a lawsuit against President Donald Trump over his attempt to “illegally” tip the representation in the U.S. House of Representatives by excluding the counting of undocumented immigrants in the 2020 census.

According to a statement from James’ office, the suit—filed by a coalition of states, cities, and counties and backed by 21 attorneys general nationwide—”seeks to stop the Trump Administration from politicizing the census and violating basic constitutional commands, and instead aims to ensure the administration counts the ‘whole number of persons’ residing in the country for apportionment, as the U.S. Constitution unambiguously requires.”

The move by Trump to alter the Census guidelines was denounced as “flagrantly unconstitutional” when it was announced Tuesday and James vowed at the time to respond with a legal challenge.

In announcing Friday’s lawsuit—which names Trump, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Census Bureau, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and Census Director Steven Dillingham—James said the president’s effort to upend the census by targeting immigrant communities and excluding the undocumented from being counted “is the latest in a long list of anti-immigrant actions and statements he has made since the beginning of his first campaign.”

“It’s another election-year tactic to fire up his base by dehumanizing immigrants and using them as scapegoats for his failures as a leader,” James added. “No one ceases to be a person because they lack documentation, which is why we filed this lawsuit. Instead of fear mongering, now is the time to be engaging in a robust education and outreach campaign to ensure each person in this country is counted. We beat the president before in court, and we will beat him again.”

The Attorney General’s office argues that the legal case for the lawsuit and the Constitution is “abundantly clear” on how the Census data is to be used and that all residents living in a state, regardless of legal status, must be counted. The coalition’s lawsuit, according to the statement, argues that any apportionment of representation based on the exclusion of undocumented immigrants will:

“There is no citizenship question or any questions on immigration status on the census,” said Bitta Mostofi, commissioner of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “Every New Yorker has the right to be counted to ensure our communities’ fair share of federal funding and representation. We know the resilience of our immigrant communities and the bravery so many have had in the face of countless attacks by the Trump Administration. As always, we will fight to ensure our communities’ power and contributions are recognized and that all New Yorkers are counted.”


[1] Attorney General James Sues President Trump for Illegally Seeking to Exclude Undocumented Immigrants from Congressional Apportionment | New York State Attorney General ➤[2] 'Flagrantly Unconstitutional': Trump Issues Order to Block Undocumented Immigrants From Being Counted in Census ➤[3] Attorney General James to Challenge Trump Administration Over Illegal Census Order | New York State Attorney General ➤[4][5][6]