Things That Matter

Trump Ignores Constitution To Target Undocumented Residents In 2020 Census Once Again

Despite losing his battle to put a citizenship question on the 2020 Census (the case made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court), Trump’s attack on undocumented residents isn’t over yet. This time, the president is targeting states who have large undocumented communities by excluding them from Congressional reapportionment. In particular, Trump wants to exclude them from the numbers used to determine how many seats in Congress each state will have for the next 10 years.

It’s a blatant attempt to subvert the constitutional requirement that the census conduct “an actual enumeration” of the “whole number of free persons” in the U.S. There have been legislative and regulatory tweaks over the years to accommodate unusual situations — omitting, say, foreign diplomats and their families in the country at the time of the count — but there is nothing in the Constitution that says people must be citizens to be counted for purposes of reapportionment

Trump targets undocumented residents once again in a new executive order.

Trump issued an executive order that calls for an unprecedented change to the constitutionally mandated count of every person living in the country. His directive instructs the U.S. Census Bureau to not count undocumented immigrants for purposes of apportioning seats in the House of Representatives, targeting states like California, Texas and New York with large communities of residents who lack a legal immigration status.

If enacted, however, the policy could have a seismic political impact, as states can gain or lose seats in the House every 10 years after the census, depending on how their populations compare to others. The census data is also used to allocate federal resources to states and local communities, however, Trump’s order doesn’t target this funding.

Dale Ho, an ACLU attorney who fought against Trump’s proposed citizenship question, signaled that a new lawsuit could be in the works against Tuesday’s directive. 

“The Constitution requires that everyone in the U.S. be counted in the census. President Trump can’t pick and choose. He tried to add a citizenship question to the census and lost in the Supreme Court,” Ho said in statement. “His latest attempt to weaponize the census for an attack on immigrant communities will be found unconstitutional. We’ll see him in court, and win, again.”

Congress represents all people in their states – not just citizens.

The U.S. has long counted non-citizens, including undocumented residents, for the purpose of congressional apportionment. The Constitution says that each state must have at least one representative, and that the apportionment of others should be based on an enumeration of the population.

Therefore, Trump’s authority to exclude unauthorized immigrants is expected to face court challenges, as it appears to be a direct attack on the constitution and the 14th Amendment.

Until the 14th Amendment was ratified in the 1860s, enslaved African Americans were counted as three-fifths of a person for congressional apportionment. American Indians “not taxed” were excluded until 1940.

The 14th Amendment also requires the enumeration of “the whole number of persons in each State.”

The new order comes after the Trump administration has repeatedly tried to change the 2020 Census.

Trump’s new order is part of an ongoing effort to exclude undocumented residents, and part of his campaign to fundamentally change how the government conducts its census every 10 years.

Late last year, the Trump administration proposed including a question on U.S. citizenship during the 2020 census. But its efforts do so, which it said were aimed at enforcing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, elicited a flurry of legal challenges that ended up at the Supreme Court, which blocked the administration from adding the question in time for the questionnaires to be printed.

During the litigation over the question, it was revealed that Thomas Hofeller, a now deceased conservative political operative, played a role in helping the administration craft the justification for the citizenship question addition, which he said in a 2015 study would allow officials to draw electoral maps advantageous to “Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.”

Trump’s order could have a major impact on several states’ representation in Congress.

Several U.S. states have large undocumented residents populations and many of them regularly vote Democratic. This order, if enacted, would have a major effect on congressional representation and would shift political power away from reliably blue states to reliably red states.

Two of the states losing electoral votes — California and New York — are reliably Democratic. Two states gaining — Alabama and Ohio — usually vote Republican.

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Behind On Rent, Some Undocumented Residents Are Self-Evicting Rather Than Risking The Legal System

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Behind On Rent, Some Undocumented Residents Are Self-Evicting Rather Than Risking The Legal System

Brandon Bell / Getty Images

Eviction is a terrifying prospect. Even more so amid a global pandemic and economic uncertainty. Imagine losing your house – a place you’ve called home with your family for months or even years. Unfortunately, it’s a reality that millions are facing as the Coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc on the global economy, millions are plunged into unemployment, and millions more struggle to make ends meet – including the most basic necessity of paying the rent.

Several cities and states have enacted temporary rent freezes or holds on evictions but landlords are still threatening their renters with evictions. Some of the most vulnerable communities – such as undocumented residents – are left feeling hopeless and with no where to turn since they may be afraid to seek legal help and have less access to government-funded resources. As a result, many undocumented residents are choosing to self-evict rather than risk going up against a hostile legal system.

A new report details how many undocumented migrants are choosing to self-evict instead of fighting back.

The Texas Tribune published a feature story on a hard-to-track aspect of the coronavirus pandemic: Undocumented immigrants are “self-evicting” from apartments, even while eviction moratoriums are in place, out of fear of retribution. 

“On paper, an undocumented tenant has the same rights as anyone else during the eviction process,” the report says. “But housing attorneys and tenant and immigration advocates say undocumented immigrants are frequently hesitant to exercise those options. Their fear of the legal system and lack of access to government-funded financial help prompt many to self-evict, or prematurely leave the property.”

In some cases, undocumented immigrants don’t qualify for certain government assistance programs that could help them keep up with rent or remain in their homes, the report says. In other cases, some are afraid to seek assistance because they don’t want to attract attention from immigration officials, according to the report.

Because of that, some undocumented immigrants choose to leave their homes even before a formal eviction is filed, turning to family members and community organizations for emergency housing. Immigrants have also lost their jobs at higher rates during the pandemic than other groups.

The legal system is a hostile one towards undocumented residents and help perpetuate fear in the community.

As the Coronavirus pandemic’s economic effects began to be felt across the country, many renters found temporary relief in eviction moratoriums, federal pandemic relief payments, unemployment checks and rental assistance programs. Undocumented migrants, though, either don’t qualify for such aid or are afraid that merely seeking it will alert immigration authorities to their presence in a country whose president has called some immigrants “animals,” makes racist remarks and consistently tries to create barriers for migrants.

Meanwhile, courthouses are intimidating places. And the mere idea that ICE officials are sometimes present in them (and they have indeed arrested undocumented immigrants who have shown up for court hearings that a unrelated to their immigration status) has left many too fearful to even attempt a legal challenge to a potential eviction.

For some, it’s also a language barrier as not all legal systems provide bilingual services.

In the report, Adriana Godines, of Dallas Area Interfaith, says that “When they want to ask for help from a nonprofit, and the staff only speaks English, they feel intimidated and don’t want to go on.” She adds “Even if I tell them that there will be no problem and they won’t ask for your Social Security, they prefer not to [ask for help].”

And even people who go to the justice of the peace courts, where eviction cases are heard, face similar hurdles.

“A lot of JP courts won’t have bilingual speakers,” said Lizbeth Parra-Davila, a housing fellow at the University of Texas School of Law. “Throughout Texas, that has been the case where I’ll call JP courts and they’ll say, ‘Yeah, we don’t have any Spanish speakers. We don’t have any Spanish interpreters.”

However, there are resources out there for undocumented residents facing evictions.

Credit: Bebeto Matthews / Getty Images

States from California to Connecticut have implemented varying degrees of aide to undocumented immigrants within their states. In Connecticut for example, the state has issued a $1 million fund aimed at supporting immigrants with rent payments. In California, the state is working to make unemployment benefits available to undocumented residents, which would go a long way in helping people pay their rent. The state has also launched a fund that provides up to $1,000 in financial assistance to undocumented residents in the state. You can learn more here.

NAKASEC’s Emergency Mutual Aid Fund will provide up to $500 in financial assistance, you can find the application here.

There are many other programs available to the community in states all across the country. Several resources are detailed further at InformedImmigrant.com.

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White Congressman Tells AOC To Accept Colleagues Non-Apology Apology

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White Congressman Tells AOC To Accept Colleagues Non-Apology Apology

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Update: July 24 House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy believes that Rep. AOC should accept Rep. Ted Yoho’s non-apology for verbally accosting her. The moment was caught by reporters and the backlash was immediate.

After being accosted by Rep. Ted Yoho, Rep. AOC took to the House floor and called out his lack of an apology.

Rep. AOC spoke on the house floor with the anger and frustration of women across the country. She spoke about Rep. Yoho’s lack of an apology without flinching as she repeated the words said to her: “f*cking b*tch.”

“It is cultural. It is a culture of lack of impunity, of accepting violence and violent language against women, an entire structure of power that supports that,” AOC said. She added: “Mr. Yoho mentioned that he has a wife and two daughters – I am two years younger than Mr. Yoho’s youngest daughter. I am someone’s daughter, too. My father, thankfully, is not alive to see how Mr. Yoho treated his daughter. My mother got to see Mr. Yoho’s disrespect.”

Yet, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy thinks Rep. AOC should accept the apology.

Rep. McCarthy, while speaking to the press, sided with Rep. Yoho and claims to have heard a sincere apology to Rep. AOC. Fellow colleagues disagree with his assertion and his call for Rep. AOC to accept the apology she does not feel was sincere.

“When you do that to any woman,” Rep. AOC continued, “you give permission to other men to do that to his daughters.”

Update: July 22 Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called out Rep Ted Yoho for his non-apology apology. The congressman spoke on the House floor and offered some words to apologize for how his language was “misconstrued.” People are calling him out for not apologizing to Rep. AOC.

Rep. Ted Yoho spook on the House floor to address the comments against Rep. AOC.

During the speech, Rep. Yoho doesn’t address Rep. AOC directly and apologizes for the way his words were received. Rep. Yoho is reacting to the stories of him verbally berating Rep. AOC on the Capitol stairs.

“I will commit to each of you that I will conduct myself from a place of passion and understanding that policy and political disagreement be vigorously debated with the knowledge that we approach the problems facing our nation with the betterment of the country in mind and the people we serve,” Rep. Yoho said in the speech. “I cannot apologize for my passion or for loving my God, my family and my country.”

Rep. AOC was quick to call out Rep. Yoho after he didn’t address her by name.

Rep. AOC, whose sentiment was echoed by colleagues and political pundits, is called Rep. Yoho out for not apologizing. Instead, Rep. AOC points out that Rep. Yoho did not fully address her and turned the speech into a chance to frame himself as passionate as a way to excuse his comments. Rep. Yoho even said that the words “f*cking b*tch” were not intended to be addressing Rep. AOC.

Original: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is no stranger to attacks but the latest attack was a bit too far. The congresswoman was verbally attacked on the steps of the Capital in front of reporters. This one, overheard by reporters, shows a different level of disagreement in our government.

This is Representative Ted Yoho of Florida.

Rep. Yoho has been a member of Congress representing Florida’s 3rd congressional district. The district includes Gainesville, home of the University of Florida, and Ocala.

Rep. Yoho was heard on the steps of the capital calling AOC a “f*cking b*tch.”

According to The Hill, the confrontation started as the two members of Congress were passing each other on the stairs. Rep. Yoho allegedly began the altercation calling AOC “disgusting” over her comments that New York’s spike in crime has been caused by the pandemic.

“Maybe this has to do with the fact that people aren’t paying their rent and are scared to pay their rent and so they go out and they need to feed their child and they don’t have money so … they feel like they either need to shoplift some bread or go hungry,” AOC said during a virtual town hall by The Hill.

“You are out of your freaking mind,” Yoho told her, according to The Hill.

Fellow Congress members came to AOC’s defense.

The comments have stunned many who have read them but these are not a surprise, according to some. The comments echo some of the same rhetoric heard on Fox News and other right-wing media organizations.

AOC responded to Rep. Yoho and called him rude for his comments. The two continued on their ways and that’s when Rep. Yoho, who had joined Rep. Roger William of Texas, said, “Fucking bitch.” The Hill does clarify that the comment was made to no one in particular.

Some members have called out the remarks as being sexist.

Rep. Ruben Gallegos of Arizona tweeted in defense of AOC saying that he has been saying the same thing but has never been accosted like that. One thing is clear, AOC is not letting it get her down.

READ: AOC Wins Primary Election In New York In Run For A Second Term In Congress

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