LOS ANGELES – A federal court on Monday issued a stay in a 2018 lawsuit filed by Alabama and Congressman Mo Brooks seeking to exclude undocumented immigrants from the apportionment data used in the 2020 Census. U.S. District Judge R. David Procter’s decision places the case on hold until after the U.S. Supreme Court has resolved an appeal before it in a similar case out of New York.
In 2018, MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) intervened in the case on behalf of Latino voters citing concerns that the federal government would not provide a robust defense of the constitutional requirement that calls for a complete count of all residents of the states. Subsequently, the Trump administration indicated agreement with the plaintiffs Alabama and Brooks when Trump issued a memorandum demanding he be given data to discount the undocumented in the reallocation of seats among the states in the House of Representatives. The intervenors reside in states, including California, Florida, Texas, and Arizona, that stand to lose congressional seats and federal funding if all residents are not counted.
MALDEF President and General Counsel Thomas A. Saenz issued the following statement in response to today’s ruling:
“We joined in seeking today’s stay because several three-judge-court decisions on whether Trump may exclude certain immigrants from the apportionment count are likely to be resolved authoritatively before this case moves to a decision. Although this case will likely be superseded by those other cases, the involvement of Alabama and Mo Brooks in this monstrous litigation is not irrelevant. The relief Alabama and Brooks seek (even if Brooks often seems unable to remember accurately what he seeks in the case) is nothing less than to treat certain immigrants as less than full human beings under our Constitution. The involvement of the ex-Confederate state of Alabama and its throwback congress member is disturbing in light of the post-Civil War amendment to remove the abominable three-fifths rule for apportionment that was in our original Constitution. The ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment recognized that no group of people in the future should be treated as less than full human beings when it comes to allocating seats in the House of Representatives. We are confident that the courts, in the other pending cases, will reject Alabama and Brooks’ wholly unsupported view that we should again treat certain people as less than human.”