LOS ANGELES – Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) issued the following statement in response to Alabama’s decision to amend its lawsuit filed last year that seeks to force the Census Bureau to exclude undocumented immigrants from the 2020 Census data used for reapportionment:
“Earlier this week, the State of Alabama formally limited its unprincipled litigation challenging the inclusion of certain immigrants who reside in the United States in the Census. Even though the Constitution requires an ‘actual enumeration’ of ‘persons in each state’, Alabama contends that undocumented immigrants should not be counted as ‘persons’. On Tuesday, Alabama amended its case to eliminate its challenge to the inclusion of these immigrants in the many funding formulas that use Census data to distribute federal dollars. Representing one group of intervenors in the case, MALDEF argued earlier in the case that Alabama would find it exceedingly difficult to demonstrate its standing to challenge those funding formulas. Alabama’s decision to limit its case by excising the funding-based challenges implicitly vindicates our arguments.
“Still, the shrunken case remains nothing but a streamlined pig in a poke. Alabama continues to contend that undocumented residents are not ‘persons’ under the Constitution for purposes of reapportioning the House of Representatives. Yet, the three-fifths rule, that abomination in our original Constitution that treated certain persons as less than whole, was eliminated after the Civil War by the Fourteenth Amendment. The twenty-first century United States should not embrace a new ‘zero-fifths’ rule, and any state government that treats all of its residents with dignity and respect would understand that. Beyond this week’s welcome slimming of its litigation, Alabama should dismiss its entire challenge to our modern and constitutional post-bellum governance scheme.”