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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 

Summary

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