Media | Press Releases | 07.21.20

National AAPI Organizations Appalled at Trump Memorandum Excluding Undocumented Immigrants from the 2020 Census Count


Washington—The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), issued the following statement on the memorandum signed by President Trump today, aiming to exclude undocumented immigrants from the congressional apportionment process following the 2020 Census.

President Trump’s latest attempt to undermine the Census is yet another attack on immigrant communities and a continuation of his effort to divide America. It is also an attack on the very Constitution he is sworn to protect, by deliberately sabotaging the process of fulfilling the constitutional mandate to count all persons within the United States.

In Trump’s America, it will always be a question whether undocumented immigrants should count as “persons,” or if any immigrant is truly American. We call on Congress to do what President Trump refuses to do: honor their oaths of office, uphold the Constitution, and defend the integrity of our democracy.

John C. Yang, President and Executive Director of Advancing Justice – AAJC said:

“There is no end to this President’s attempts to violate the U.S. Constitution. The Constitutional mandate, as upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, is clear. The U.S. Census must count all persons in this country. We cannot allow the Trump Administration to weaponize the census for political gain. Without the full census data, we all will be underrepresented and under-resourced for the next ten years. To be clear, everyone – including all immigrants regardless of status – should continue to participate in the census.  We will not be intimidated into silence through these sham tactics.”

Madalene Mielke, President and CEO of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) stated:

“President Trump’s executive action to exclude undocumented immigrants in the constitutionally mandated Census directly affects the apportionment process of deciding the number of congressional representatives elected per state. This action has implications for representation of the AAPI community and APAICS supports the Constitution in its directive to count all “persons” in the United States, without the distinction of citizenship.”

Executive Director of Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote), Christine Chen added:

“The U.S. Census is key to ensuring all communities, including communities of color, are represented and well-resourced for the decade. The constitutional mandate, which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, makes clear that the Census must count every persons in this country. The Trump administration has made a clear move meant to disenfranchise immigrants in this country, and we must uphold the Constitution and make sure every person, no matter their immigration status is able to be safely counted.”

David Inoue, Executive Director of Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) said:

“The President’s memorandum is clearly unconstitutional and even worse seems to hearken back to the original Constitution prior to amendment in which a Black man could be counted as 3/5 of a person. Instead it is now immigrants that do not fully count. The President has continued to dehumanize and terrorize immigrants to our country, and this is just one more attempt after the Supreme Court has already ruled that the citizenship question would not be allowed on the census.”

Executive Director of OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates (OCA), Rita Pin Ahrens stated: 

“It’s just plain unconstitutional to exclude anyone from the Census. These renewed efforts by the administration to deter Census completion will be met with strong resistance. We know that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are already the least likely to complete their census questionnaires, and OCA will double down our efforts to get the word out for a fair and complete count of all community members across the country.”

Bonnie Lee Wolf, President of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) said: 

“The U.S. Supreme Court held that it was unconstitutional for the Trump administration to include a citizenship question to the Census. The Census must count all persons in this country. The President’s executive action to exclude undocumented immigrants from being counted in the Census undermines our Constitution and our courts.”

Juliet K. Choi, Executive Vice President of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) added: 

“The Census determines resources allocated to each section of the United States, including in the number of U.S. Representatives per state,” said “The Trump administration’s newest executive action to exclude undocumented immigrants from taking part of the Census, despite the Constitution clearly directing the Census to count all persons, is undemocratic and bad for the accuracy of the Census, bad for our communities and bad for our country.”

Alvina Yeh, Executive Director of Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO (APALA) said: 

“It is unconscionable that Trump and his white supremacist administration is threatening to undercount and therefore underfund our communities. We know that this is another intimidation tactic to scare people away from getting counted and to literally whitewash our congressional maps. This is unconstitutional, and we will continue to fight against all attempts to erase marginalized communities from the Census.”

Lakshmi Sridaran, Executive Director, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) stated:

“This is the latest move from the Administration to criminalize undocumented communities in an effort to veil their own abysmal failures on multiple levels. Weaponizing the census by attacking immigrant communities is something the Trump Administration has attempted before, and it failed in the court. But, these repeated attempts have had a chilling effect on the Census response rate, which endangers our communities. We will continue working with and supporting our allies to fight this racist hail mary to distract and intimidate our communities.”

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Based in Washington, D.C., the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans is a coalition of 37 national Asian Pacific American organizations that serves to represent the interests of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities and to provide a national voice for our communities’ concerns. Our communities are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States, currently making up approximately six percent of the population.

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