• IRLI Staff

Illegal Aliens to be Barred from Census Count?

IRLI files brief in lawsuit to exclude illegal aliens from census

WASHINGTON – The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in an important case challenging the counting of illegal aliens in the census for purposes of apportionment. The case is being brought by the State of Alabama and one of its representatives in Congress, Rep. Morris (“Mo”) Brooks, Jr.

Apportionment is the process in which each state is allotted a number of congressional districts and electoral votes based on its population as measured by the census. If the census includes illegal aliens (as the 2010 census did), states with high numbers of illegal aliens, such as California, end up getting extra congressional seats and electoral votes, and states with low numbers of illegal aliens, such as Alabama, end up losing congressional seats and electoral votes.

Despite such obvious harms, the government has moved to dismiss the case for lack of standing, claiming that it is “speculative” that Alabama actually will lose a congressional seat in 2020 if illegal aliens are counted. As IRLI points out in its brief, however, it isn’t speculative at all that Alabama, to the detriment of Alabama residents such as Congressmen Brooks, will lose federal funding if illegal aliens are counted, and that kind of financial harm alone is enough to give both plaintiffs standing to sue.

What has not been contested yet in this lawsuit is the plaintiffs’ underlying claim that counting illegal aliens in the census is unconstitutional. That question will be the subject of future briefing.

“The importance of this case can hardly be overstated,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “When illegal aliens are few and far between, whether they are counted in the census doesn’t really matter. But when millions of them are concentrated in just a few states, counting them gives political power to foreigners who choose to come here in violation of our laws, and takes power from Americans. The illegal presence of millions and millions of foreign nationals within our borders should never be allowed to tip the balance of power in Congress, or determine a presidential election.”

The case is Alabama v. U.S. Dept. of Commerce, 18-cv-00772 (N.D. Ala.).

For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 •

IRLI is a supporting organization of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

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