The Census Bureau will miss a Dec. 31 deadline for reporting data used to determine congressional seats, the agency announced Wednesday.
The delay could hinder President Donald Trump’s effort to exclude some undocumented immigrants from the figures used to apportion House seats.
The Census Bureau announced it is shooting to deliver its population counts for House apportionment "in early 2021, as close to the statutory deadline as possible." It will be the first time the bureau will miss the deadline since its 1976 implementation.
"This important process, which has been a part of every decennial census, is critical to produce data that can be used for apportioning seats in the House of Representatives among the states. The schedule for reporting this data is not static. Projected dates are fluid. We continue to process the data collected," the Census Bureau said in a statement Wednesday evening.
The Associated Press first reported the Census Bureau’s plan to miss the deadline.
Census Bureau documents released by the House Oversight Committee earlier this month show the data may not be delivered until late January — after President-elect Joe Biden gets inaugurated. That would give the Democratic president an opening to cease Trump’s efforts to exclude undocumented immigrants from the count.
Removing those immigrants from the count could benefit Republicans by minimizing the reported population in Democratic areas with higher immigrant populations. Biden has spoken out about the move as dismantling precedent and ignoring the Constitution, which does not specify that population counts be determined by citizenship.
“Congress must give the experts at the Census the time to make sure everyone gets counted accurately,” Biden said in a statement earlier this month.
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