Howard County is joining a New York lawsuit against President Trump and his administration for their July 21 census policy attempting to “exclude from the apportionment base aliens who are not in a lawful immigration status.”

The exclusion of undocumented persons would significantly impact the apportionment of congressional districts and the electoral college. The case was filed in federal court last week, with the state of New York as the lead plaintiff.

“This latest attempt to co-opt the constitutionally mandated census process is illegal and clearly violates our federal laws and standards,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. “Especially now, as the [U.S.] Census Bureau just announced they will end all counting efforts by Sept. 30, there is a greater risk of undercounting populations. Howard County loses out on nearly $18,000 in federal funding for each person not counted in the Census. This funding will support critical programs including our emergency services, Medicare, school lunches and so much more. Our federal representation must truly represent all the people in a jurisdiction – no matter their citizenship status. As a community that strives to be inclusive and sees our diversity as our strength, we will not let the current administration continue to scapegoat our immigrant community or intimidate our residents from participating in the census.”

The complaint is expected to soon be amended, at which time Howard County will be added as a plaintiff. The lawsuit challenges the President’s disregard for the Constitution, and violation of the 14th Amendment, where it states, “representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state.”

The Census Bureau announced that it is ending all counting efforts by Sept. 30, a month earlier than originally announced date of Oct. 31. Across the country, four out of 10 households have not been counted, and with limited-to-no door-knocking efforts, there is a risk of significantly undercounting immigrants, minority populations and rural households that are less likely to self-report. In Howard County the response rate is currently 76.5 percent.