LOS ANGELES – A 2018 federal lawsuit filed by the State of Alabama and Congressman Mo Brooks that sought to exclude undocumented immigrants from the Census data used for reapportionment was dismissed on Monday.
MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) and Alabama civil rights attorneys James U. Blacksher and Edward Still were the first to intervene in the case, citing concerns that the Trump administration would not provide a robust defense of the constitutional requirement that all persons be counted in allocating seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
MALDEF President and General Counsel Thomas A. Saenz issued the following statement in response to the dismissal of that lawsuit:
“This week marks the end of Alabama’s repugnant attempt to turn back the clock to a time when the U.S. Constitution failed to treat all persons as equal in allocating seats in the House of Representatives. The post-Civil War Fourteenth Amendment plainly states that the ‘whole number of persons in each State’ is to be counted in decennial reapportionment. Alabama’s noxious theory that undocumented persons are not ‘persons’ under the Fourteenth Amendment is wholly inconsistent with the wording and subsequent interpretation of the Constitution.
“In 2020, Donald Trump sought to follow Alabama in ordering the exclusion of certain immigrants from the apportionment count. Foreshadowing the utter disrespect for our constitutional democracy demonstrated in his support of insurrection, Trump sought to continue his campaign of statistical genocide by wiping away the Census-determined existence of millions of Latinos through an order seeking to emulate Alabama’s lawsuit.
“The threat from Trump expired with his ignominious electoral defeat, and yesterday the Alabama threat disappeared through party stipulation. While Alabama — and perhaps others who elevate party over principle – may try again in the future, the nation should see yesterday’s dismissal as a conclusive end to attempts to mangle the Constitution to target Latinos, a racial group seen as a threat to the extant power structure.”