President Donald Trump signed a memorandum Tuesday that seeks to bar people in the USA illegally from being counted in congressional reapportionment, a move that drew immediate criticism from Democratic officials. "Maybe I'll change my mind", Trump had said then.
"For the goal of the reapportionment of representatives following the 2020 census, it is the policy of the United States to exclude from the apportionment base aliens who are not in a lawful immigration status", Trump's order said.
Proponents of citizens-only voting districts argue each vote should carry the same weight.
"I mean, I have not gotten official word of when the next one was", he said.
The Census Bureau said last month that more than 90 million households had already responded to the 2020 Census with the majority doing it online. But how many seats they'd lose, and whether more states could also lose House representation is unclear, he said, due to the intricacies of the apportionment process.
But the move carries major legal questions, and will probably draw litigation.
U.S. Census experts and lawyers say the action is legally dubious, and not easily executed in practice.
Dale Ho, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, vowed litigation, saying in a statement, "We'll see him in court, and win", referring to the president.
According to the Census Bureau's residence criteria for determining how to count different groups of residents for the 2020 census, citizens of foreign countries who are living in the USA are supposed to be counted "at the US residence where they live and sleep most of the time", while worldwide visitors should not be counted.
In theory, officials could determine citizenship data through such administrative records as driver's licence databases, along with citizenship estimates gathered in other Census Bureau surveys. "And the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House". The in-person activities the Census Bureau conducts to complete its count have been hobbled, and the resulting undercount is most likely to affect communities of color and lower-income people, according to experts.
Mr Trump was first spotted wearing a face mask when he visited Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland this month. But the efforts have faced roadblocks.
Asked if he would be participating in the briefings, Fauci said, "I would assume I am".
The Trump administration previous year sought to add a citizenship question to the census count, now well underway, to the same end.
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