OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
President Donald Trump made a powerful move on Tuesday that Democrats will undoubtedly not be happy about.
The president signed a memorandum that seeks to exclude illegal immigrants from being counted in the next round of congressional redistricting, The Washington Examiner reported.
Redistricting occurs for state legislature seats and at the federal level for U.S. House districts, known as congressional apportionment.
The memo would affect the latter.
Trump’s memorandum, sent out by the White House Press Office on Tuesday, reads, “I have accordingly determined that respect for the law and protection of the integrity of the democratic process warrant the exclusion of illegal aliens from the apportionment base, to the extent feasible and to the maximum extent of the President’s discretion under the law.”
In the memo, the president states that the Constitution does not “specifically define which persons must be included in the apportionment base.”
“Although the Constitution requires the ‘persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed,’ to be enumerated in the census, that requirement has never been understood to include in the apportionment base every individual physically present within a State’s boundaries at the time of the census,” the memo reads.
“Instead, the term ‘persons in each State’ has been interpreted to mean that only the ‘inhabitants’ of each State should be included. Determining which persons should be considered ‘inhabitants’ for the purpose of apportionment requires the exercise of judgment. For example, aliens who are only temporarily in the United States, such as for business or tourism, and certain foreign diplomatic personnel are “persons” who have been excluded from the apportionment base in past censuses,” the document continues.
The memorandum also argues that the Constitution does not exclude individuals not physically within the United States, citing overseas federal personnel as an example.
“The discretion delegated to the executive branch to determine who qualifies as an ‘inhabitant’ includes the authority to exclude from the apportionment base aliens who are not in lawful immigration status,” the memo reads.
A senior Trump administration official said the memo “is another decisive step toward fulfilling his solemn pledge to ensure only American citizens have congressional representation, not illegal aliens.” The president signed the memo on Tuesday at 1:10 p.m. EDT in the Oval Office.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled 5-4 that illegal immigrants who use someone else’s information when filling out tax forms for employment can face criminal charges.
The Court has also ruled in favor of tossing a lawsuit filed against a Texas border agent for shooting and killing a Mexican teenager.
In the other immigration case, the Court ruled 5-4 in favor of allowing the Trump administration to enforce its “public charge” immigration rule, which allows them to deny green cards to immigrants who would be dependent on government welfare for extended periods.