Springdale attorneys say SCOTUS arguments over striking undocumented immigrants from census could have negative impact

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SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Supreme Court of the United States took up oral arguments Monday concerning the Trump administration’s push to exclude undocumented immigrants from census numbers. Local attorneys and advocates said the potential ruling could directly affect Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.

Mireya Reith is the Executive Director for Arkansas United, a Springdale-based immigrant advocacy group. She questioned the SCOTUS even discussing the administration’s desired move to exclude undocumented immigrants.

“The census this year has been unusual in so many different aspects,” Reith said. “It is very clear in the constitution that anyone who resides here in the United States can claim it at the time of the census.”

Victor Rojas, a Springdale attorney, said the battle can be viewed through a political lens.

“If you remove the undocumented populations that vote Democrat, you’ll get less seats in Congress,” Rojas said. “I believe that would be an underlying angle in this entire thing. I don’t think the President is specifically targeting undocumented immigrants because he doesn’t like them. I just think politically, it’s a good move for Republicans.”

The ultimate decision could have a lasting impact, Rojas said.

“Federal dollars could be lost. Representatives could be lost,” Rojas said. “That affects everybody, it’s not just immigrants.”

Throughout history, undocumented immigrants have always been counted in censuses, Rojas said. That’s what makes this particular situation unprecedented.

“It’s never been done before,” Rojas said. “In fact, it’s in direct contravention to what’s been done before.”

Stephen Coger is a Springdale immigration attorney. He said there are many unknowns with how the ruling will turn out.

“There’s no telling what’s going to come out of this court, especially with the newest member,” Coger said.

Coger said the ongoing court battle could keep immigrants from participating in future censuses.

“These litigation issues will have a long term deterring effect, which is again unfortunate, but particularly for Northwest Arkansas,” Coger said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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