Alabama sues over undocumented residents in Census counts

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama and one of its congressmen have filed a lawsuit against the federal government, challenging the practice of including undocumented residents in U.S. Census counts used for congressional reapportionment.

In the lawsuit filed Monday, Alabama argues the predicted 2020 census numbers will cause Alabama to lose a congressional seat, and thus an electoral vote, to a state with a "larger illegal alien population." The state and U.S. Rep Mo Brooks of Alabama are plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed in federal court against the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Census Bureau.

"Congressional seats should be apportioned based on the population of American citizens, not illegal aliens. After all, this is America, not the United Nations," Brooks said in a statement.

The lawsuit filed by the southern state comes as other mostly Democratic states seek to have plans to include a citizenship question in Census interviews declared unconstitutional over fears it will deter participation and dilute representation in those states.

All people, including citizens and noncitizens, with a usual residence in the 50 states are counted in the census and in apportionment counts, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Alabama is seeking to have the practice declared unconstitutional and against existing statutes that the state argues "require a census enumeration of the total of legally present resident population."

"Alabama's loss will be another state's gain, as states with a growing illegal alien population will be the beneficiary of this reapportionment," Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said in a statement.

Seventeen states have sued over the census citizenship question, saying that would undermine population counts and dilute political representation.