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Memo proposes not counting undocumented immigrants

Undocumented immigrants in Indiana may not be counted in the census for the purposes of funding or for determining congressional representation by population numbers. This is the aim of the Trump administration, but the American Civil Liberties Union says it will challenge the memorandum in court.

The memo was signed by President Donald Trump on July 21. In 2019, the Trump administration sought to include a question on the census about citizenship status. However, this was rejected by the Supreme Court. It is unclear how a person’s citizenship will be determined as a result, although the administration may look at other types of records. Opponents of the memo say that it is a constitutional requirement for the census to count everyone.

Advocacy groups for immigrants and other community organizations have struggled to get immigrants to participate in the census. Their concern has been that regardless of their legal status, immigrants will decline to provide information, and this could affect the funding available for roads, schools and other needs. The memo argues that including undocumented immigrants affects the democratic process, but opponents say that representation is supposed to be based on total population and that the status of that population is irrelevant.

Individuals who are concerned about their immigration status or who are interested in seeking permanent residency or citizenship may want to contact an attorney. There may be a number of paths to naturalization, including via family, long-time residency or as an asylum-seeker. Some people might have eligibility along more than one path, and an attorney might help an individual determine which may be the quickest. Following current events in immigration law demonstrates that it can change rapidly, so it can be helpful to have an attorney assist in preparing documentation and with any necessary court appearances.