Government seeks to dismiss Alabama lawsuit over Census
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The federal government has asked a judge to dismiss Alabama’s lawsuit seeking to exclude people living in the country illegally from 2020 U.S. Census counts.
A federal judge on Wednesday gave Alabama until Jan. 25 to respond to the request.
Alabama and U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks sued the U.S. Census Bureau in May, arguing the predicted 2020 Census numbers will cause the state to lose a congressional seat and an electoral vote to a state with a “larger illegal alien population.”
U.S. Department of Justice lawyers wrote in a court filing last week that Alabama’s claim that it could lose a congressional seat because of the practice is “entirely speculative.” They also contended that Alabama’s claim that it would lose funding is “every bit as speculative.”
“It is simply too speculative to predict what will be revealed by a census that has not yet taken place, and that will not occur until more than a year in the future,” Department of Justice lawyers wrote.
They also argued since funding decisions are based on total population, “Alabama would nonetheless receive its fair share based on its total population, including its population of illegal alien residents (many of whom use government services, such as attending schools).”
It has been the practice to include all U.S. residents — including noncitizens, regardless of immigration status — in the census counts, which also determine the number of congressional seats for each state. In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against two Texas residents who argued their votes were diluted by the practice of using the “whole population” to draw legislative district lines.
Alabama is seeking to have the practice declared unconstitutional, arguing in its lawsuit that the constitutional directive for an “actual enumeration” of state populations was understood at the country’s founding and during Reconstruction “to be restricted to aliens who have been lawfully admitted to the body politic.”
A federal judge has scheduled a hearing next month on a request by a group of Latino voters, civil rights groups and several local governments in Washington and California to join the lawsuit.
They say they live in areas that could lose congressional seats and federal funding if the count doesn’t include all residents.