Clifford Chance has contributed as pro bono co-counsel to LatinoJustice PRLDEF and a dozen national Latino advocacy and service organizations in submitting an amicus “friend of the court” brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the Census reapportionment count case Trump v. New York. A link to the filing can be found here.
Partners Peter Mucchetti and Celeste Koeleveld, associates Michaela Spero, Atul Jain, Isa Herrera Moya and Julius Pak, and paralegals Allison Nadler sand Ellie Purdy all provided pro bono support to the brief.
The U.S. Constitution clearly states that every single resident must be counted in the census. But instead of counting all Latinos and other undocumented immigrants and enabling them to have an equal voice, President Donald J. Trump is intentionally targeting and seeking to disenfranchise immigrant communities of color. As our brief makes clear, not only is this blatantly against the law, but LatinoJustice and other civil rights and immigrants’ rights organizations will oppose, challenge and/or seek to prevent this from happening.
Mucchetti states: “LatinoJustice PRLDEF’s brief focuses on how the Presidential Memorandum harms the U.S. Latino community. Nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants live in the United states, the majority of whom are Latino. Undocumented immigrants have enduring ties to the U.S. communities where they reside, and they make substantial contributions to American society. Overall, the Presidential Memorandum harms not just the undocumented population and Latino communities, but our country as a whole.”
Juan Cartagena, president and general counsel of LatinoJustice PRLDEF, said, “Trump’s executive directive is the latest example of anti-Latino attacks designed to intimidate immigrant residents and discourage them from participating in the Census. The President saw the writing on the wall that his disastrous tenure would soon be ending, and engaged in this unconstitutional final effort to promulgate his white supremacist agenda by trying to manipulate the apportionment count in a blatant effort to disenfranchise undocumented immigrant communities of color in the United States for the next decade.”
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on November 30 regarding a lower federal court ruling that determined the constitution explicitly requires all persons to be counted. The Trump administration appealed to the Supreme Court after a panel of three New York federal judges ruled in September that the July 21, 2020 Presidential directive to exclude undocumented immigrants from the apportionment count was unlawful. A second lower federal court in California recently ruled that the Presidential directive was both unconstitutional and a violation of the census statute – but this case is not part of the current SCOTUS appeal. With Trump’s divisive antics being resoundingly rejected by the American electorate, we are confident that this case -- the latest in a string of ploys to illegally shift power away from immigrants and communities of color -- will let the Constitution triumph over division.
Arturo Vargas, CEO of NALEO and the NALEO Educational Fund: “NALEO and NALEO Educational Fund are proud to join this challenge to the President’s illegal effort to declare that undocumented immigrants are not persons under the U.S. Constitution. Any attempt to erase immigrants from the apportionment count violates the Constitution’s unequivocally clear mandate that all persons are to be counted in the census for purposes of apportionment. Moreover, the Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in the wake of the Civil War, put an end to the practice of determining which human beings in America counted as fully human and which were not. The Supreme Court must affirm the district court ruling to prevent the Administration from moving forward with this unconstitutional effort to sabotage the fundamental accuracy and integrity of census data.”
Héctor Sánchez Barba, executive director and CEO, Mi Familia Vota, affirms: "Mi Familia Vota understands the power and importance of the Census. We know that everyone must be counted -- that is why we joined this critically important brief with Latino Justice PRLDF. We must overturn this harmful and malicious executive order to exclude undocumented immigrants from population figures for the purpose of creating legislative districts. We have stopped Trump at the ballot box, now we will stop him in the courts to save our Democracy."
The brief contends that "The Constitution clearly states that everyone, regardless of immigration status, must be counted in the Census. Our amicus brief makes clear that immigrants make enormous contributions to the United States' social fabric, history, culture, and economy. By attempting to exclude undocumented immigrants for purposes of the decennial census, the Trump Presidential Memorandum fails to recognize the significant contribution and participation of the undocumented community in the United States. Nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants currently live in the United States and have long-established ties to the country. Their family ties, their jobs, their education and their social connections make them part of the fabric of American life.”
Lawrence Guzman Romo, American GI Forum National Commander, said: "The American GI Forum of the United States' position is that all people living in the United States should be counted in the census as this follows the spirit of the US Constitution."
Hispanic National Bar Association President Elia Diaz-Yaeger, said: “Undocumented immigrants have made immeasurable contributions to their communities and the Nation. The Hispanic National Bar Association strongly reaffirms their right to be counted and represented.”
“The Trump Administration’s continued attempt to exclude undocumented immigrants from 2020 Census data used for reapportionment is part of an unprecedented four-year campaign to erase immigrants from this country. The arguments in front of this new Supreme Court are a last-ditch effort to codify xenophobic policies which will not only hurt immigrants but will result in less funding and politically marginalize countless communities across the United States,” said Frankie Miranda, President of Hispanic Federation. “The panel of Federal Court judges who ruled this effort unlawful were right. The Trump Administration and cynical political operatives continue to attempt political maneuvers to further marginalize immigrant communities and abandon clearly established precedent regarding reapportionment. Frankly, no Lame Duck President should get to do this while their time in office comes to an end.”
LatinoJustice’s amicus brief was joined by twelve additional national Latino organizations including NALEO, NALEO Educational Fund, Hispanic Federation, Mi Familia Voto, American G.I. Forum, Presente.org, Alianza Americas, ASPIRA, Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities, National Hispanic Media Coalition, National Hispanic Coalition of State Legislators, and the Hispanic National Bar Association.