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Washington, D.C. — The City of Atlanta, Georgia and Arlington County, Virginia yesterday filed a motion to intervene in pending litigation brought by the State of Alabama challenging the U.S. Census Bureau’s long-standing practice of counting all people, regardless of immigration status, in the United States decennial Census. The municipalities are represented by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Democracy Forward, and seeks to intervene to defend the Constitutional principle that undocumented individuals are “persons” who must be counted in the 2020 Census.

The lawsuit, which was filed in May of 2018, seeks to block the Census Bureau’s ‘Residence Rule,’ which requires the Bureau to count all residents, including undocumented immigrants, in determining the population of states in the 2020 Census.  The Census count is used as the basis to distribute more than $675 billion annually in federal funding, as well as political representation in the House of Representatives and Electoral College.

“Undocumented residents continue to make profound cultural and economic contributions to our communities, and to act is if they do not exist adversely impacts us all,” said Keisha Lance Bottoms, Mayor of the City of Atlanta, GA. “It is unconscionable that in 2019 there is still a debate surrounding what defines a ‘person,’ which is why we will continue working to ensure that every resident is counted.”

“Arlington, a diverse community that welcomes immigrants, is intervening in this case because it is vitally important that the Census Bureau be allowed to carry out its Constitutional responsibility to count all people, whatever their immigration status, in the 2020 census,” Arlington County Board Chair Christian Dorsey said. “We are defending a Constitutional principle that undocumented individuals are ‘persons,’ and must be counted. This is critical to ensuring that localities receive the proper level of federal funding commensurate with the number of people actually living in the locality.”

“Atlanta, Georgia and Arlington County, Virginia are municipalities that house and serve very diverse communities,” said Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “The ‘Residence Rule’ stands to ensure that these communities are fully represented in the 2020 Census count. We will continue to defend the rule to ensure that all people are counted in the upcoming census, regardless of their immigration status.”

“Excluding local residents from the census count on the grounds of immigration status violates a core principle of American democracy,” said Democracy Forward Legal Director Javier Guzman. “Through its own actions, the Trump administration has made clear that we can’t rely on it to represent the public’s interest in this case.”

Read full motion to intervene here. 

About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. Now in its 56th year, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is continuing its quest to “Move America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and voting rights.

 About Democracy Forward

Democracy Forward is a nonprofit legal organization that scrutinizes Executive Branch activity across policy areas, represents clients in litigation to challenge unlawful actions, and educates the public when the White House or federal agencies break the law.



Press Contact:

Reynolds Graves, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (202)662-8375, [email protected]

Charisma Troiano, Democracy Forward, (202) 701-1781, [email protected]