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Case Name Haitian-Americans United v. Trump IM-MA-0023
Docket / Court 1:20-cv-11421-DPW ( D. Mass. )
State/Territory Massachusetts
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Attorney Organization Lawyers Comm. for Civil Rights Under Law
Case Summary
This is a case about President Trump’s July 21, 2020 memorandum titled “Excluding Illegal Aliens from the Apportionment Base Following the 2020 Census” to the Secretary of Commerce. This memo instructed the 2020 Census to exclude undocumented immigrants from the population data created for ... read more >
This is a case about President Trump’s July 21, 2020 memorandum titled “Excluding Illegal Aliens from the Apportionment Base Following the 2020 Census” to the Secretary of Commerce. This memo instructed the 2020 Census to exclude undocumented immigrants from the population data created for the purposes of congressional apportionment. Many felt this action was taken to deter participation by immigrant communities and communities of color in the 2020 Census, which would in turn deprive these communities of the political representation and federal financial resources to which they are entitled, and filed suit as a result.

In response to the memo, Haitian-Americans United, Inc., Brazilian Worker Center, Chelsea Collaborative, Inc. and Centro Presente—all non-profits serving immigrants of color across Massachusetts—filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District Of Massachusetts on July 27, 2020. The plaintiffs sued President Trump, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Bureau of the Census, Director of the U.S. Census Bureau Steven Dillingham, and Secretary of the Department of Commerce Wilbur Ross under the Administrative Procedure Act and 42 U.S.C. § 1985. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that the memo violated Article I, Section 2 of Constitution which specifies that congressional apportionment must be based on a total count of all persons because excluding undocumented residents will not result in the required of an "actual enumermation" of all persons and will chill immigrant participation in the 2020 census. The plaintiffs also alleged that the memo violated the right to equal protection as guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment becuase the memo "is motivated by racial animus towards immigrants of color, non-US citizens, foreign-born individuals, and undocumented individuals. The plaintiffs further argued that the President and the Secretary of Commerce have conspired to violate immigrants' and non-citizens' right to equal protection. Represented by Lawyers for Civil Rights, the plaintiffs sought declaratory relief that the memo was unconstitutional and that any compliance with the memo's instructions to the Census Bureau to produce tabulations of population data excluding undocumented residents for congressional apportionment violated the Administrative Procedure Act, and injunctive relief preventing the defendants from providing information to the President that would permit him to exclude undocumented immigrants from the congressional apportionment base. In addition, the plaintiffs sought costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees. The case was assigned to Judge Douglas P. Woodlock.

On September 4, 2020, the plaintiffs filed an application for a three-judge court because Section 2284(a) requires the appointment of a three-judge court in actions challenging “the constitutionality of the apportionment of congressional districts.” On September 11, 2020 Judge Woodlock granted the plaintiffs’ application. Judge Bruce M. Selya and Judge Patti B. Saris were appointed to the three judge panel alongside Judge Woodlock. As of September 26, 2020, this case is ongoing and the defendants have yet to file an answer.

Zoe Van Dyke - 09/26/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Enumerations Clause
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Immigration status
National origin discrimination
Race discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Funding
Language access/needs
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Racial profiling
Voting
Immigration/Border
Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Race
Race, unspecified
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1985
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Defendant(s) President of the United States
U.S. Bureau of the Census
U.S. Department of Commerce
Plaintiff Description Four non-profits serving immigrants of color across Massachusetts (Haitian-Americans United, Inc., Brazilian Worker Center, Chelsea Collaborative, Inc. and Centro Presente)
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Lawyers Comm. for Civil Rights Under Law
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 07/27/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  2020 Census Litigation
(The Brennan Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
D. Mass.
09/11/2020
1:20-cv-11421-DPW
IM-MA-0023-9000.pdf | Detail
General Documents
D. Mass.
07/27/2020
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-MA-0023-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Mass.
09/04/2020
Memorandum in Support of Plaintiffs' Application for the Appointment of a Three-Judge Court [ECF# 8]
IM-MA-0023-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Woodlock, Douglas Preston (D. Mass.) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0023-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Curran, Patrick M. Jr. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0023-0002 | IM-MA-0023-9000
McKittrick, Neil V. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0023-0002 | IM-MA-0023-9000
Rao, Anna B. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0023-0002 | IM-MA-0023-9000
Sampson, Lauren (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0023-0001 | IM-MA-0023-0002 | IM-MA-0023-9000
Sellstrom, Oren M (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0023-0001 | IM-MA-0023-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Davis, Elliott M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-MA-0023-9000

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