Sept. 10 (UPI) -- A federal court on Thursday blocked President Donald Trump's order preventing undocumented immigrants from being included in the census count to determine congressional seats.
The special three-judge panel in New York unanimously approved an injunction against Trump's July order. They didn't rule on whether the order is unconstitutional, but said it would cause harm for the next decade, until the next census is conducted.
"We declare the presidential memorandum to be an unlawful exercise of the authority granted to the president by statute," the panel ruled.
Trump's memorandum ordered that undocumented immigrants should not be counted for the purpose of apportionment in the 2020 census, meaning they wouldn't be considered when determining how many representatives each state gets in the House.
The Trump administration at the time said excluding undocumented immigrants "from the apportionment base is more consonant with the principles of representative democracy underpinning our system of government."
The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, welcomed the ruling.
"The law is clear: Everyone gets counted in the census -- you can't pick and choose," the organization said.
The Trump administration lost another legal challenge last year after it attempted to include a question on the census asking whether the respondent was living in the United States legally. Challengers feared that such a question would cause undocumented immigrants not to fill out the census for fear of being targeted for deportation or other actions.