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Haitian-Americans United V. Trump

Haitian-Americans United led a coalition of groups in a challenge to President Trump’s attempt to exclude undocumented immigrants from the state-population totals that are produced by the 2020 Census and used for apportioning seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and votes in the Electoral College.

Last Updated: February 16, 2021
Published: July 31, 2020

Note: The Bren­nan Center is not a parti­cipant in this case 


Haitian-Amer­ic­ans United led a coali­tion of groups in a chal­lenge to Pres­id­ent Trump’s attempt to exclude undoc­u­mented immig­rants from the state-popu­la­tion totals that are produced by the 2020 Census and used for appor­tion­ing seats in the U.S. House of Repres­ent­at­ives and votes in the Elect­oral College. The plaintiffs argued that a July 21, 2020 White House memor­andum direct­ing the Commerce Secret­ary to report data on undoc­u­mented immig­rants to Pres­id­ent Trump viol­ates the U.S. Consti­tu­tion, the federal Census Act, and other federal law.

Case Back­ground

Community groups repres­ent­ing immig­rant and minor­ity communit­ies in Massachu­setts are suing Pres­id­ent Donald Trump, Secret­ary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, the Depart­ment of Commerce, the Census Bureau, and Census Bureau Director Steven Dilling­ham, argued that the exclu­sion of undoc­u­mented immig­rants from the 2020 Census state-popu­la­tion totals used for appor­tion­ing congres­sional seats and Elect­oral College votes is uncon­sti­tu­tional and other­wise illegal.

The plaintiffs conten­ded that the Pres­id­ent’s July 21, 2020 memor­andum on exclud­ing undoc­u­mented immig­rants from the state-popu­la­tion totals used to calcu­late the state appor­tion­ments viol­ates consti­tu­tional and stat­utory require­ments that the Pres­id­ent include all persons in the congres­sional appor­tion­ment base, irre­spect­ive of citizen­ship or immig­ra­tion status. The plaintiffs also conten­ded that the memor­andum viol­ates the right to equal protec­tion guar­an­teed by the Fifth Amend­ment because the memor­andum is “motiv­ated by discrim­in­at­ory animus toward Hispan­ics and immig­rant communit­ies of color.” 

The suit further conten­ded that the Pres­id­ent and the Secret­ary of Commerce conspired to viol­ate the civil rights of immig­rants and non-citizens.

The plaintiffs asked the court to declare that the exclu­sion of undoc­u­mented immig­rants from congres­sional appor­tion­ment viol­ates the Consti­tu­tion and federal law. The plaintiffs also asked the court to bar the Commerce Depart­ment and the Census Bureau from trans­mit­ting any data regard­ing citizen­ship or immig­ra­tion status to the Pres­id­ent for appor­tion­ment purposes.

On Novem­ber 3, 2020, the court issued a stay of the proceed­ings in this case, pending the Supreme Court’s resol­u­tion in Trump v. New York. 

On Janu­ary 13, 2021, the court dismissed this case without preju­dice. 

Key Docu­ments