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For the first time in four decades the Census Bureau will miss their deadline on reporting apportionment figures used to divvy up congressional seats.
The missed deadline will likely subvert President Trump’s plans to remove people living in the country without legal permission from the process.
Trump pushed to have immigrants living in the U.S. without legal permission discounted from the final census count, which is used by the U.S. House of Representatives to decide how many House members each state gets – a move that some theorized would benefit GOP lawmakers.
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The 2020 census will also be used to help determine how to redraw district lines, a process that occurs every 10 years.
"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 Census Bureau said in a statement Wednesday. "The schedule for reporting this data is not static. Projected dates are fluid."
The deadline on Dec. 31, has yet to be missed since first being established in 1976, though officials say they hope to have it completed shortly after the New Year. But the bureau did not specify whether or not that will be met before President-elect Joe Biden enters office on Jan. 20, 2021.
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The Trump administration has remained fairly opaque as to how they would calculate adjusting the census by removing certain immigrants, which could be attributed to the Supreme Court's dismissal of a lawsuit earlier this month, that attempted to block Trump’s plan.
The 6-3 ruling found that "this case is riddled with contingencies and speculation that impede judicial review."
The suit brought forward by the state of New York and the American Civil Liberties Union said Trump’s policy would violate the Constitution and Census Act by attempting to undermine Democratic states with higher populations of migrants, such as California, by lessening the number of representatives permitted.
Under the Census Act, the law states that House seats should be based on the "whole number of persons in each state."
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The President then sends Congress a report of each state’s population along with their allotted number of House districts. Although if the figures are not submitted by the Census Bureau until after Jan. 20, then President-elect Joe Biden would gain control over the numbers and how they are interpreted.
"We continue to process the data collected and plan to deliver a complete and accurate state population count for apportionment in early 2021, as close to the statutory deadline as possible," the Bureau said Wednesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.