A coalition of states and organizations led by New York filed papers in federal district court on Friday seeking to overturn President Trump’s order that would exclude undocumented immigrants from the apportionment base following this year’s census.
President Trump issued a memorandum last month ordering the exclusion of undocumented immigrants from the census count for the redrawing of congressional districts. The president had argued that in order to protect the integrity of the democratic process the law required the exclusion of those in the country illegally. The lawsuit filed by the states calls the president’s order “flagrantly unconstitutional and unlawful” and seeks summary judgment based on their constitutional claim, or in the alternative a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the order.
The states argue that both Article I of the Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment require the counting of all persons, and that the courts including the Supreme Court have already decided that “all persons” means all persons regardless of immigration status. They further argue that the order violates statutory requirements put in place by Congress mandating the enumeration of all persons during the census. For these reasons they have asked for a summary judgment in their favor. In the alternative, the states have requested an preliminary injunction against enforcement of the order, on the grounds that the president’s order is deterring immigrant households from answering the census, primarily by “sowing confusion, mistrust, and fear among immigrant households about the consequences of responding to the census.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement, “We will not hesitate to take every legal action available to ensure all communities are properly represented in Congress, and get the federal funding they need and deserve.”