El Paso, TX Joins Lawsuit Challenging Pres. Trump’s Order to Exclude Non-Citizens in Census Count

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“As of today, the 2020 Census has counted only about 77% of El Paso, Texas’ population. Texas residents who have not yet responded to the Census can help make the count more complete by returning the mail-back survey, calling 844-330-2020 or going online to 2020census.gov.” — Anthony Gutierrez, Executive Director of Common Cause Texas

In an amended complaint filed today in Common Cause v. Trump, the City of El Paso, Texas will join a lawsuit challenging President Trump’s July 21 memo ordering the exclusion of undocumented immigrants from census data used for the apportionment of seats in Congress.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeks a declaratory judgment that the Administration’s actions violate Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution as amended by Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Equal Protection guarantees of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, and federal statutes, as well as an injunction to block President Trump’s unconstitutional order. It also asks the Court to require the President to count all people within a state, regardless of immigration status, for the purpose of congressional apportionment—as has been the case for every congressional apportionment since the Constitution was ratified.

“I could not be more happy to see my hometown join this litigation,” said Common Cause Texas Executive Director Anthony Gutierrez. “There is so much at stake for El Paso and we absolutely cannot afford the massive loss of funds that would come from a severe undercount.”

“A government ‘for the people’ needs to represent all the people,” continued Gutierrez. “Language barriers are already a challenge in getting an accurate Census 2020. Our Constitution promises that all people are represented, regardless of whether they are eligible to vote. Allowing the Trump Administration to exclude non-citizens from being represented in Congress violates clear constitutional language requiring every person to be counted.”

Read more about  the El Paso City Council’s vote to join the lawsuit here.

“The Constitution is unambiguous in its requirements relating to the census count and reapportionment of Congressional seats—all persons must be counted,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, President of Common Cause. “The White House directive simply ignores those requirements in an unconstitutional attempt to manipulate the process for racial advantage and partisan political gain.”

Gutierrez noted that El Paso is on track for a significant undercount in the 2020 Census—and the Administration’s directive to count selectively can only make that problem worse. “As of today, the 2020 Census has counted 77% of El Paso’s population, he said. “Texas residents who have not yet responded to the Census can help make the count more complete, by returning the mail-back survey, by calling 844-330-2020 or by going online to 2020census.gov.”

Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit include the cities of Atlanta, Georgia; Clarkston, Georgia; Dayton, Ohio; Paterson, New Jersey; Portland, Oregon; Santa Monica, California; South Pasadena, California; the El Monte Union High School District in California; the Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans; the Center for Civic Policy; Masa; New Jersey Citizen Action; New Mexico Asian Family Center; New Mexico Comunidades en Acción y de Fé; and 23 individual Latino, African American, Asian American and other voters from California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Texas.

Plaintiffs are represented by Emmet J. Bondurant of Bondurant Mixson & Elmore LLP; Gregory L. Diskant, Daniel S. Ruzumna, Aron Fischer, and Jonah M. Knobler of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP; and Michael B. Kimberly of McDermott Will & Emery.
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