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Marshall testifies before Congress on US Census lawsuit

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall speaking during a congressional hearing in 2018.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall testified before Congress on Friday about a ongoing lawsuit by the state that would block immigrants who are illegally in the country from being counted in the 2020 census.

At the center of Marshall’s lawsuit is the fact that Alabama is on track to lose a Congressional seat and one electoral vote after the 2020 census, which is used for apportionment.

Marshall, along with Alabama U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, said this is because the census is set to count immigrants who migrated to the country illegally.

“Not only would this skewed result rob the State of Alabama and its legal residents of their rightful share of representation, but it plainly undermines the rule of law,” Marshall said before a U.S. House committee. “If an individual’s presence in our country is in violation of federal law, why should the states in which they reside benefit from their illegal status?”

In Marshall’s lawsuit against the U.S. Commerce Department, he argues that if the U.S. Census Bureau moved forward with counting immigrants who entered the country illegally, then states like Texas and Arizona would gain Congressional seats and California would maintain its seats.

The lawsuit came after the Trump Administration said it would reinstate a question on the Census that would ask respondents if they were citizens. Under their plan, the immigrants who are in the country illegally would still be counted.

Critics of the decision said the question would severely drive down participation in the Census, and 12 states, including New York and California, sued the Trump Administration in March over the new policy.

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