EL PASO, Texas -- President Donald Trump’s attempt to exclude undocumented immigrants from census figures that will be used to divide up seats in Congress among the states is now being challenged in federal court by a coalition of state and local governments that includes El Paso County.
The Constitution requires a once-a-decade count of the "whole number of persons in each state." One of the purposes of that census count is to determine how to apportion congressional seats.
Trump signed a memorandum earlier this week that bars people in the U.S. illegally from being counted in the congressional reapportionment process.
The lawsuit filed in federal court for the District of Columbia contends that Trump’s effort “flouts the plain language of the Constitution” and tries to do with an executive order what would require a constitutional amendment.
"The Constitution is abundantly clear: For purposes of apportioning members of the House of Representatives among the states, every person residing in the U.S. during the census, regardless of legal status, must be counted," said a statement issued by El Paso County government late Friday afternoon.
The lawsuit asks a federal judge to declare the president's memo in violation of the Constitution and seeks to have the court block the Trump administration from carrying it out.
The administration has not publicly commented on the suit, which has been brought by a total of 21 state attorneys general, nine cities and four counties including El Paso.