Advancing Justice | AAJC and MALDEF Census Lawsuit Plaintiffs

May 31, 2018

Advancing Justice | AAJC, MALDEF, and 21 organizations sue Trump Administration for unconstitutional citizenship question



Fact Sheet

Advancing Justice | AAJC Logo

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC is suing the Trump Administration on behalf of four plaintiffs. The Asian American plaintiffs are among the social service non-profits, state legislative associations, civil rights groups, voters’ rights organizations, and community partnerships that would be forced to divert resources to combat a severe undercount in their respective communities.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Chicago

Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Chicago (Advancing Justice – Chicago) is a pan-Asian, nonprofit organization based in Chicago, Illinois whose mission is to build power through collective advocacy and organizing to achieve racial equity. Advancing Justice – Chicago works with the Asian American community to develop grassroots leaders, increase civic participation, and mobilize the community to achieve racial equity.

  • “Accurate Census data was critical to Advancing Justice-Chicago’s success in establishing a state task force to evaluate/analyze/assess in-language government services for immigrant communities. The addition of this citizenship question puts the integrity of census data in jeopardy and will force organizations like ours to spend more time and our limited resources on explaining how to answer the question and alleviate fears about the question when we should be underscoring the importance of participating in the census for a fair and accurate count for our communities.” - Andy Kang, Executive Director

Asia Services in Action, Inc. (Cleveland, Ohio)

Asia Services In Action, Inc. (ASIA) is a nonprofit corporation. Founded in 1995, ASIA’s mission is to provide low-income, multilingual, and underserved Asian Americans with culturally and linguistically appropriate access to civic, health, and social services.

  • “Secretary Ross set the first domino in motion where insidiously one by one this citizenship question will affect the number of individuals who may participate, which in turn will eventually alter the available resources in our community for family stabilization services and access to benefits such as medical benefits, childcare assistance, and home energy assistance. Lack of data could also affect how my organization estimates the civic, health, and social needs of our diverse Asian American community.” - Michael Byun, Chief Executive Officer

MinKwon Center for Community Action (Flushing, Queens, New York)

The MinKwon Center for Community Action, Inc. (MinKwon) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower the Korean American, Asian American, and immigrant communities to achieve economic and social justice for all. MinKwon accomplishes this mission through its four program areas: social services, advocacy and community organizing, civic participation, and youth empowerment.

  • “The citizenship question could stand in the way of hard-fought momentum we generated in 2010 when we increased response rates by 15 percent. With more than one million Asian Americans living in New York City and 78 percent being foreign-born immigrants, we are extremely concerned that the actions, policies, and plans of this administration have instilled greater fear and mistrust of the government among our Korean American and Asian American communities.” - John Park, Executive Director

Honorable Gene Wu, State Representative for Texas House (Houston, Texas)

The Honorable Gene Wu is the State Representative for Texas House District 137. He is a Chinese-born American and resides in Houston, Texas.

  • "I represent one of the largest immigrant populations in Texas. Many of these immigrants are refugees and asylum seekers from Asian countries where they experienced oppression and brutality by their own government. It is already a tremendous challenge to provide representation and services to these populations. They fear our government just as they feared their former government. The inclusion of a citizenship question will further drive these vulnerable communities into the darkness. Undercounting these communities will mean tangible harm and suffering for people who have already suffered so much."  - Gene Wu, State Representative




MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) has sued the Trump administration over its order to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census on behalf of nearly two dozen organizations and individuals. Here are brief descriptions of the organizational plaintiffs:


Based in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, LUPE is a community-based nonprofit organization that serves and advocates for the people who live along the border to overcome the enormous array of obstacles to full participation in the civic affairs of Texas and the nation.

  • “The inclusion of a biased question about citizenship on the 2020 Census is one more way to threaten this community and is designed to push Latinos ever further into the shadows.” - Juanita Valdez-Cox, Executive Director


The Texas Senate Hispanic Caucus was established to promote and monitor legislative initiatives that reflect the common goals and objectives for the betterment of the Texas Hispanic community. 

  • "An accurate Census count is vital to Texas communities in terms of federal funding, fair representation, and business development. By adding a question on citizenship, it is evident that the intention is only to fan the flames of fear and distrust in the Census. The Senate Hispanic Caucus cannot let this go without contest, and we are ready to stand with our local communities in challenging this unlawful action." - Texas Sen. José Menéndez, Chair


The Texas House of Representatives’ Mexican American Legislative Caucus (MALC) is the oldest and largest Latino legislative caucus in the United States.

  • “Secretary Ross’ decision to underfund census efforts and add a citizenship question will leave Texas taxpayers as one of the biggest losers – jeopardizing Texans’ fair share of hard earned tax dollars. Billions of dollars utilized to fund our neighborhood schools, provide critical health care services, prepare our communities for natural disasters, and upgrade roads and infrastructure are at risk.” - Rep. Rafael Anchía, Chairman



Founded in 1974, SVREP is the preeminent Latino voter participation organization in the United States. Its mission is to politically empower Latinos and other minorities. SVREP has registered more than 2.6 million Latino voters, trained 150,000 Latino leaders and won 170 federal and state voting rights actions.

  • “The citizenship question on the U.S. Census will in practice exclude millions of immigrant Latinos from participating in the Census count, which will in turn hamstring the development of fairly drawn districts in which Latino voters can elect candidates of their choice at all levels. SVREP rejects this naked attempt by the Trump administration at diminishing our participation in the American democratic process.” - Antonio González, President


The California Latino Legislative Caucus serves as a forum for legislators from the State Senate and Assembly to identify key issues affecting Latinos and develop avenues to empower the Latino community throughout California.

  • "California relies on the decennial Census to provide a full and fair count of all residents. Having a citizenship question on the 2020 Census form will lead to a substantial undercount of residents by exacerbating fears within the Latino community and undermining trust in the count program.  Such an undercount will negatively impact all Californians through the reduction of federal funding and the likely loss of a seat in Congress." - State Sen. Ben Hueso, Chair


Chicanos Por La Causa (CPLC) is one of the largest Hispanic nonprofits in the country, promoting stronger and healthier communities throughout the southwestern United States.


The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to create a just society fully inclusive of immigrants. CHIRLA organizes thousands of immigrants and their families to engage in programs including organizing, legal services, civic engagement, and policy advocacy.

  • "The Census, as outlined in the Constitution, ensures everyone is counted to provide equal representation and allocation of resources to states, counties, and cities. The Trump administration is maliciously undermining the planning and implementation of the Census by adding additional questions and setting up barriers to participation at the very last minute. An undercount would jeopardize resources and representation and it would undermine the enforcement of civil rights and our democracy.  CHIRLA joins as one of the plaintiffs in this legal challenge to ensure our communities count.” - Angelica Salas, Executive Director


The Dolores Huerta Foundation (DHF), based in Bakersfield, CA, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire and organize communities to build volunteer organizations empowered to pursue social justice.

  • “Since 1792, the Census has been used to count the number of people in the United States and to get basic information. The number of people counted in each community will determine the recourses those communities will receive from the Federal Government. The Trump Administration’s new questions on citizenship are meant to suppress the number of people responding thereby depriving those communities of badly needed funding.” - Dolores Huerta, Founder & President


Mi Familia Vota is a national civic engagement organization that unites Latino, immigrant, and allied communities to promote social and economic justice through citizenship workshops, voter registration, and voter participation.

  • “The Census needs to accurately reflect our population, citizen and non-citizen alike, so that we can be funded to make the changes that we need in our communities. President Trump has created distrust in this administration by demonizing immigrants, threatening them with deportations and family separation, and even calling them animals; we cannot expect families to disclose sensitive information on a Census form in this environment. To add a citizenship question is to disregard the needs of all residents and that is damaging to who we are as a country." - Ben Monterroso, Executive Director


Founded in 1995, Somos Un Pueblo Unido is a New Mexico-based immigrant-led organization whose mission is to promote civil rights and worker justice by offering community education about rights and remedies, providing leadership and training opportunities for immigrants and low-wage workers, engaging members in grassroots legislative advocacy, and conducting Census outreach, voter registration, get-out-the-vote, and naturalization campaigns.

  • “New Mexico relies on an accurate census to ensure fair political representation of vulnerable populations and to receive over $6 billion in federal funding for crucial social programs. An undercount could be disastrous for low-wage workers and their families, especially in rural areas where Latinos and immigrants are driving growth but are still experiencing extreme economic insecurity. The citizenship question is another attempt by this administration to punish our families and erase our contributions to the communities we call home." - Marcela Díaz, Executive Director


GALEO is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization in Georgia promoting civic engagement and leadership development of the Latinx community.

  • “GALEO worked hard in 2010 to ensure we had a complete and accurate count of the Latino community. In fact, 28% of the state’s growth was due to the Latino community, which represented approximately 9% of the overall population. The Latinx community in Georgia has only grown more and a lot is at stake to make sure all persons are counted in Georgia.” - Jerry Gonzalez, Executive Director


The Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) is the leading national organization for Latino(a) workers and their families. LCLAA was born in 1972 out of the need to educate, organize and mobilize Latinos in the labor movement and has expanded its influence to organize Latinos in an effort to impact workers' rights and their influence in the political process.

  • “The Trump administration’s addition of a citizenship question is pure politics. Their aim is to drive down the number of Latinos participating in the census, so that our communities are deprived of the political representation and federal resources we deserve. An accurate census is too important for our democracy to let the Trump administration get away with this. We call on Congress to reverse the decision and we will support any legal avenues to block it.” - Hector Sanchez Barba, Executive Director


Promise Arizona's mission is to build strong Latino and immigrant communities through civic engagement that grows political power to ensure family unity, a pathway to citizenship, worker protections, and paths to equitable educational opportunities so all residents in Arizona can grow to their potential.

  • “The Census is an opportunity for Latinos, immigrants and refugees to be part of the American narrative. Without our participation in the Census our story is not told: how we live, our educational achievements and the contributions we make to the United States.”  - Petra Falcon, Executive Director


El Pueblo is a community organization based in Raleigh, N.C. that supports Latinos to develop leadership skills, celebrate art and culture, participate in civic life, and engage in state-level advocacy.

  • “El Pueblo is deeply concerned about the potential under-count of Latinos in North Carolina and across the country with the inclusion of the citizenship question. Our hope is that, by participating in this lawsuit, we can ensure an equitable distribution of resources as a result of the 2020 Census.” - Angeline Echeverría, Executive Director


The Maryland Legislative Latino Caucus was created in December 2014. Its primary purpose is to improve the quality of life of Maryland's Latino communities by advocating on their behalf and promoting greater participation in the political affairs of the State of Maryland. 

  • "It is imperative that Latino leaders across the country take this moment to stand up against injustice, and ensure that our communities are acknowledged, counted, and represented." - Delegate Carlo Sanchez, Chair


Latino Community Fund of Washington State (LCF) works toward a vision of healthy and resilient Latinx families building strong communities and economies, vibrant and effective Latinx organizations holding government accountable to ensure systems work for their communities, and thriving communities have equitable access to resources, leadership and influence to thrive.

  • “An accurate census count is the cornerstone of government that is truly by and for the people. Therefore, this lawsuit is critical to repeal the intentional plans to undercount people of color and protect our democracy, and this lawsuit will ensure that the constitutional mandate for an accurate census count is preserved for future generations.” - Peter Bloch Garcia, Executive Director


The 17-member Arizona Latino Legislative Caucus holds strategic leadership positions and promotes legislation and policies that directly affect Latinos in Arizona. The caucus also encourages more Latinos to engage in the political process through public policy and community events.

  • "It is absolutely critical that our nation – and Arizona in particular – conduct a fair and accurate Census in 2020. Arizona is one of the nation's fastest-growing states, which creates overwhelming infrastructure needs, as well as issues that challenge our underserved Latino and indigenous communities. Arizona will require its fair share of federal resources to meet these challenges.” - Arizona State Rep. Diego Espinoza


The Chelsea Collaborative empowers residents in Chelsea, Massachusetts to enhance the social and economic health of the community and its people, and to hold institutional decision makers accountable to the community.

  • "The immigrant community has been under-counted for many decades. This proposed census question regarding the citizenship status of our residents will further discourage immigrants from participating in the census process. This will result in further reduction of government resources of communities like Chelsea." - Dinanyili Paulino, Chief Operating Officer