President Donald Trump’s order this week to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census's apportionment count is “the latest in a long list of anti-immigrant actions and statements he has made since the beginning of his first campaign,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James on Friday as she announced a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's policy.

“The Constitution is abundantly clear: For purposes of apportioning members of the House of Representatives among the states, every person residing in the U.S. during the census, regardless of legal status, must be counted,” James said in a statement.

“For 150 years—since the United States recognized the whole personhood of those formerly bound in slavery—the unambiguous requirement that all persons be counted for apportionment purposes, regardless of immigration status, has been respected by every executive official, every cabinet officer, and every President,” said the lawsuit. “Until now.”

If implemented, Trump's policy would affect how much funding and political representation localities get, according to New York City’s Corporation Counsel James Johnson. “By trying to exclude our immigrant residents from the count, the Trump Administration is blatantly defying the Supreme Court and the Constitution," said Johnson in the lawsuit press release. "We will reject this attempt to sow chaos. We will ensure our communities have their voice in Congress and the federal assistance they need to recover from this pandemic.” New York City officials have estimated there are more than half a million undocumented immigrants in the city.

On Tuesday, Trump announced in a presidential memo that he instructed U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to exclude undocumented immigrants from the 2020 census count for apportionment purposes.

“Excluding these illegal aliens from the apportionment base is more consonant with the principles of representative democracy underpinning our system of Government,” according to the Trump memo. “Affording congressional representation, and therefore formal political influence, to States on account of the presence within their borders of aliens who have not followed the steps to secure a lawful immigration status under our laws undermines those principles. Many of these aliens entered the country illegally in the first place.”

The census has not published any counts or estimates of undocumented immigrants. One federal official said "statistical modeling" would likely be used to determine the number of undocumented immigrants, according to NPR.

In her statement, James pointed out that the 14th Amendment--offering equal protection under the law--“clearly states that 'Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State...'”

“The framers of the Fourteenth Amendment deliberately chose the phrase 'whole number of persons' to refer to all persons living in each state — including the entire immigrant population,” she said, and added, “public statements and actions by President Trump and his administration have established that the rationale for excluding undocumented immigrants from the apportionment base has always been motivated by racial animus against immigrants of color, and a desire to curb the political power of immigrant communities of color.”

The lawsuit, against Trump, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Census Bureau, Secretary Ross, and Census Director Steven Dillingham, was filed in federal court in Manhattan Friday.

New York is joined by 19 states, the District of Columbia, nine cities including New York City, and four counties including three in Texas along the Mexico border, in filing the lawsuit.

The Pew Research Center reported how the House of Representatives would shift if the policy is carried out: "If unauthorized immigrants were excluded from the apportionment count, California, Florida and Texas would each end up with one less congressional seat than they would have been awarded based on population change alone," while New York is likely to lose a seat due to population change alone.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney announced Tuesday that the House Oversight Committee will hold "an emergency hearing on the Census next week, and is considering additional steps to respond to the President’s unconstitutional action."

In 2018, James successfully sued the Trump administration over their attempt to add a citizenship question to the census, in a case decided by the Supreme Court last year.