New Jersey Citizen Action joins legal challenge against Trump administration memorandum excluding undocumented immigrants from census
Newark— New Jersey Citizen Action (NJCA) on Tuesday joined Common Cause and municipal and organizational plaintiffs from around the country in an amended legal complaint challenging President Trump’s memorandum excluding undocumented people from being counted in the census for congressional apportionment. Today NJCA released the following statement from its Executive Director, Phyllis Salowe-Kaye:
“The United States was formed on the promise that everyone is represented and everyone counts. But the Trump administration’s actions would deliberately exclude many thousands of undocumented people in New Jersey, our fellow state residents who pay taxes and work, often risking themselves as essential workers during this global pandemic. A census count excluding them is a census count that does not reflect who we are as New Jersey. We are proud to join Common Cause and many other plaintiffs in standing against this racist and cynical attempt to circumvent the Constitution for apparently partisan political gain.”
The Trump administration’s attempt to circumvent the Constitution is the brainchild of the late Thomas Hofeller, the former top redistricting advisor to the GOP, who steered the Administration’s efforts to remove non-citizens from the census.
As in the original complaint, the amended complaint charges the Administration with violating Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution as amended by Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment, and related statutes requiring that every resident be counted in the census and included in the basis for reapportioning congressional districts, without regard to citizenship or immigration status. Further, the complaint outlines the Administration’s violations of the Equal Protection guarantees of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments by diluting a voter’s vote based on where they live and by taking an adverse action against residents on the basis of race, ethnicity, and national origin.
Additionally, the Amended Complaint alleges that the Administration’s plan to remove undocumented immigrants from the apportionment base violates both Article I, Section 2’s requirement of an “actual enumeration” and the statutory prohibition on use of statistical sampling in connection with apportionment. As the Amended Complaint explains, these provisions preclude the ad hoc methodology by which the Administration plans to cobble together unreliable data from various non-census sources to manipulate the census totals.
The amended complaint in Common Cause v. Trump now includes the City of Dayton, Ohio; the City of Portland, Oregon, five new organizational plaintiffs, and a total of sixteen (16) additional individual plaintiffs of diverse backgrounds from California, Texas, and New Jersey (in addition to preexisting individual plaintiffs from Florida and New York).
Plaintiffs are seeking a declaratory judgment that the Administration’s actions violate the constitution and federal statutes, as well as an injunction to block this unconstitutional order, and to require the President to count all people within a state, regardless of immigration status, for the purpose of congressional apportionment.
The full list of Plaintiffs include: Common Cause, the cities of Atlanta, Georgia; Dayton, Ohio; Paterson, New Jersey; and Portland, Oregon; the Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans (a nonprofit refugee advocacy group based in California); the Center for Civic Policy (a nonprofit advocacy group based in New Mexico); Masa (a nonprofit advocacy group based in New York); New Jersey Citizen Action (a nonprofit advocacy group based in New Jersey); New Mexico Asian Family Center (a nonprofit advocacy group based in New Mexico); New Mexico Comunidades en Acción y de Feé (a nonprofit faith-based advocacy group based in New Mexico); and 23 individual Latino, African American, Asian American and other voters from California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Texas.
To read the amended complaint click here.
New Jersey Citizen Action is a statewide advocacy and social service organization that advocates for social, racial and economic justice for all while also meeting the pressing needs of low and moderate income New Jerseyans through education and direct service.