President Joseph R Biden, Jr. issued an executive order today reversing former President Donald J. Trump's effort to exclude the undocumented from being considered for the purposes of apportioning seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. The action, embodied in Executive Order 13986, was one of six migration-related first-day actions taken by the new president.
In the executive order, aimed at the Secretary of Commerce, the official who administers the decennial census, the President ordered that "the Secretary shall use tabulations of population reflecting the whole number of persons whose usual residence was in each State as of the census date, without regard to immigration status, in reports provided to the Governor and officers or public bodies having responsibility for legislative apportionment or districting of each State."
The order asserts that, "Both the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and section 2a(a) of title 2, United States Code, require that the apportionment base of each State, for the purpose of the reapportionment of Representatives following the decennial census, include all persons whose usual place of residence was in that State as of the designated census date, regardless of their immigration status."
It declares that "These laws, affirmed by the executive branch's longstanding historical practice, do not permit the exclusion of inhabitants of the United States from the apportionment base solely on the ground that they lack a lawful immigration status. Reflecting this legal background, and the values of equal representation and respect that the Constitution and laws embody, it is the policy of the United States that reapportionment shall be based on the total number of persons residing in the several States, without regard for immigration status."