Friday, May 24, 2024

Lawsuit in Texas Claims Latinos undercounted in 2010 U.S. Census

A lawsuit filed in Texas on Tuesday by the Mexican American Legislative Caucus alleges that Latinos were undercounted in the 2010 U.S. Census and says the state should not use the data in redrawing congressional districts.

“MALC has always been committed to a redistricting process that is fair and representative,” state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, chairman of the organization, said.

The suit claims that Latinos in several counties along the border and urban areas in Dallas and Houston were undercounted.

“The 2010 Census process and procedures resulted in substantial omissions in Latino population, particularly in the border region of Texas, including Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Webb and El Paso Counties, as well as urban areas in Dallas and Houston,” the group said in its lawsuit.

MALC says the Census particularly erred in counting Latinos that live in “colonias,” which are unincorporated neighborhoods often isolated and without basic services such as electricity or paved roads.  The Census itself has recognized in the past the difficulty in counting these residents and last year census officials said they would use a public education campaign to guarantee a more accurate count in these areas.

The Census abandoned the plan at the last minute, according to the group.  By their estimates up to 200,000 residents in South Texas were left out of the final count by the census.

“We cannot allow flawed data to dilute the voting rights of the Texas Latino community due to improper processes on the part of the Census Bureau in Texas.”

The lawsuit could have important implications on the upcoming redistricting process that will affect the Legislature, Congress and the State Board of Education.  Texas gained four seats as a result of last year’s census count, the most out of any state in the country.

Texas Tribune