Photo: Texas colonias say the 2010 Census "undercounts" Latinos
In Texas’ Hidalgo County, the Mexican American Legislative Caucus filed a lawsuit against Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus. The lawsuit claims that “the population being used for the State’s 2011 redistricting efforts severely undercounts Latinos.”
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday goes on to say, “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.”
MALC attorney Jose Garza told the Rio Grande Guardian, “Of particular interest to the residents of the Rio Grande Valley and the Hispanic community across the state, there has been no discussion, no effort to accommodate for the serious deficiencies in the 2010 Census.”
Garza reiterated the concerns of the many in the area when he said the Census Bureau did not conduct an accurate count in 2010, and may have an “undercount of as much as 8 percent in Hidalgo County. If you add eight percent to the population then you are entitled to 4.9 districts, you have got five within the county, without having to borrow population from any of the adjoining counties. So, the undercount has a dramatic impact on the South Texas Hispanic population.”
Hundreds of thousands of colonia residents along the border say they did not receive a census form in the mail, though the Census Bureau said it sent out workers to do a door-to-door count. The residents and their elected officials say this never happened.
In the lawsuit, MALC is asking that the court declare that the government officials violated and continue to violate their “fundamental voting rights,” and ask that they be stopped from using the incorrect data for any districting purposes. They also asked that the court order Perry, Dewhurst and Straus to conduct a special election that will “afford minority voters an equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choice, “ and come up with a plan that “that accounts for the undercount of Latinos; and complies with the Texas Constitution and Texas statutes.”