WASHINGTON—On January 20, 2021, President Joe Biden signed an executive order requiring all U.S. residents to be counted in the U.S. census and reversed the prior administration’s unprecedented policy of excluding undocumented immigrants from the apportionment base. In addition to apportionment of congressional representatives, the decennial census impacts the allocation of hundreds of billions of dollars in federal appropriations for programs designed to uphold human dignity and advance the common good. Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration, issued the following statement:
“We welcome this return to more than a century of American precedent that ensures all residents will be counted and included in the census and apportionment. This return to our previous policy reflects the inalienable truth that all people matter and are imbued with human dignity. In the words of Pope Francis, we are all ‘fellow travelers sharing the same flesh.’
“While the process of counting persons in the United States for the purposes of apportioning seats in the U.S. House of Representatives has not always been free of injustice—the Three-Fifths Compromise being a noteworthy example—Wednesday’s executive order stands as a testament to the indisputable reality that immigration status does not negate the inherent value of a human life, nor should it undermine any person’s ability to contribute to the growth and wellbeing of our nation. Citizens and noncitizens alike must continue to be recognized as members of the same human family.”
The amicus curiae brief submitted by the USCCB in the recent Supreme Court case addressing this issue, Trump v. New York, can be viewed here.
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