BIRMINGHAM, AL – Latino voters are asking a federal judge in Alabama to declare that Congressional apportionment must be determined by the total population residing in the United States, as actually enumerated in the upcoming 2020 Census, according to a cross-claim filed Tuesday.

MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) filed the cross-claim on behalf of Latino registered voters in several states who intervened in a lawsuit filed last year by the State of Alabama. The state’s suit seeks to force the Census Bureau to exclude the estimated population of undocumented immigrants from the 2020 Census data used for reapportionment – the decennial re-allocation of the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Attorneys for MALDEF are seeking to prevent the U.S. Department of Commerce, Secretary Wilbur Ross and the Census Bureau from deciding on their own to manipulate the required data for reapportionment by removing the estimated undocumented population, in violation of what is required by the Constitution, which is the use of total population, regardless of immigration status, according to the cross-claim.

MALDEF President and General Counsel Thomas A. Saenz issued the following statement:

“Just as we were rightly concerned about the Trump administration’s unwillingness to put up the strongest defense against the state of Alabama’s scurrilous contention that our Constitution does not recognize undocumented immigrants as ‘persons,’ we have filed this cross-claim out of a concern that the Trump administration might choose, on its own, to attempt to discount these persons even after the federal court rejects the state’s allegation that the Constitution compels such a discounting.  Recent ambiguous statements by Trump administration officials raise the prospect that the administration might seek to engage in such unconstitutional conduct.  In short, we have filed this cross-claim in order to prevent the federal government from voluntarily doing what Alabama seeks to compel.  Unfortunately, the Trump administration’s pattern of racial discrimination requires us to take steps to stop the federal government from following Alabama’s lead in violating the constitutional rights of persons of color.”

Read the cross-complaint HERE.