Skip Navigation
Court Case Tracker

New York Immigration Coal. v. Trump

The New York Immigration Coalition 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: August 7, 2020
Published: July 28, 2020

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

Summary

The New York Immigration Coalition 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

A coalition of groups representing immigrant and minority communities sued President Donald Trump, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, the Department of Commerce, the Census Bureau, and Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham, arguing 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 violated 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 constitutional right to equal protection because it denies undocumented immigrants “personhood” under the Constitution and was motivated “by a bare desire to harm immigrant communities of color, and particularly Latinx communities, by reducing their political clout and access to federal resources.”

The suit further argued that the President’s decision to exclude undocumented immigrants from the apportionment base without reliable data to do so is “arbitrary and capricious” under the Administrative Procedure Act.

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 and to order the President to include all residents of the states, including  undocumented immigrants, when he calculates the apportionments.

On August 4, 2020 this case was consolidated with New York v. Trump

On September 10, the district court granted the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and enjoined the federal government from implementing the memorandum.

The federal government has appealed that decision to the Supreme Court. 

Key Documents

U.S Supreme Court (Case No. 20-366)