NEW YORK—Late Friday, the League of Women Voters of the United States and the League of Women Voters of California, Florida, Texas filed an amicus brief in New York Immigrant Coalition v. Trump, a case which challenges President Trump’s executive order to block undocumented individuals from being counted in the U.S. Census. The Leagues join in support of the plaintiffs, the New York Immigrant Coalition, Make the Road New York, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, ADC Research Institute, and Fiel Houston, Inc.
“It is vital that every person is counted in the Census—that's why it’s mandated in our Constitution,” said Celina Stewart, Senior Director of Advocacy and Litigation at the League of Women Voters of the United States. “Census data forms the basis for everything from federal funding for infrastructure to where businesses decide to build factories to how our Congressional and state legislative districts are drawn. Attempts to disrupt an accurate count threaten our very democracy and American livelihood.”
The states of California, Florida, and Texas are home to large immigrant populations who the administration’s order may intimidate out of completing the Census, resulting in an undercount in these states. As part of their commitment to defending and upholding a healthy democracy, the Leagues in California, Florida, and Texas work with Census officials to help reach hard-to-count communities—including immigrant communities—in order to ensure an accurate count of “the whole number of persons in each State,” as required by Section 2 of the US Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment.
“Immigrant populations in California are a vital part of our local economy, and they must be counted to ensure that our infrastructure, schools, medical services, and social services are adequately funded for the next ten years,” said Stephanie Doute, executive director of the League of Women Voters of California. “The administration’s order discounts the contributions and value of our immigrant communities, and we will not allow them to be treated as if they don’t count.”
“Time and time again, we’ve fought attempts to disenfranchise or discount our most vulnerable residents in Florida,” said Patti Brigham, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida. “Whether it’s fighting to restore voting rights for returning citizens or fighting to ensure our immigrant communities are fully counted in the Census, the League continues to stand up to protect democracy for all.”
“Our communities depend on accurate Census data to ensure adequate funding for the institutions and programs that affect Texans’ everyday lives,” said Grace Chimene, president of the League of Women Voters of Texas. “The administration’s order strikes at the heart of our democracy—harming not just our immigrant communities but every Texas resident who drives on a road, sends their kids to school, or seeks medical care."
The League is represented by Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.
“Conducting a complete and accurate census is a critical component of the American democratic process. This unconstitutional directive would dramatically shift political representation nationwide and significantly impact distribution of federal funding to states, said Jennifer Altman, Partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Pittman LLP in Miami. “Though the memorandum may intend to target undocumented immigrant populations it would ultimately bring negative consequences for every lawful United States citizen, jeopardizing public health, public education and public safety, most acutely within communities of color.”
CONTACT: Kayla Vix | 202-809-9668 | kvix [at] lwv.org