WASHINGTON - Advocates for LULAC that included former Congressman Ciro D. Rodriguez, National LULAC Counsel Luis Roberto Vera, Jr., Maverick County Judge David Saucedo and John Tanner, former Department of Justice Voting Rights Section Chief, and LULAC attorney and expert George Korbell, presented LULAC’s objections to the Texas redistricting maps to the voting rights litigators from the Voting Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department.
LULAC argued that the DOJ should object to Texas request for preclearance of the state’s redistricting plans. LULAC met with the voting rights litigators to convince them that under Section 5 there is “retrogression” under the new plan, which means that this plan puts Latinos in the worst position for voting.
In 2004 LULAC filed a suit against the State of Texas for the exact same issues that are present in this case; and LULAC successfully argued that case to the Supreme Court in LULAC v. Perry.
“Amazingly, Texas is attempting to do the same thing proposed in 2004 that was eventually overturned by the Supreme Court,” said LULAC National Counsel Luis Roberto Vera, Jr. “LULAC adamantly opposes any plan that disenfranchises Latino voting power. In order to defend the Latino community we will continue to ensure that Texas at least meets the minimum requirements of the Voting Rights Act, one person-one vote.”
In the meeting with DOJ, LULAC attorneys argued that the four districts gained by Texas were the direct result of the Latino population growth and that the redistricting plan could have been drawn in a manner that would have created new Latino performing districts in Dallas, Ft. Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, and the Rio Grande Valley. Although Texas has seen 66% of Latino growth, the Texas Legislature failed to draw a single minority influenced district.
“It’s appallingly obvious that the Texas Legislature is attempting to dilute the strength of the minority Latino community,” stated LULAC National President Margaret Moran. “Incredibly, Texas took extraordinary measures of “cracking and packing” Latino precincts to ensure that Latino and Black voters could not form a new majority minority congressional district, state senate district and state house district.”
The 2010 U.S. Census Bureau’s population data indicates that Texas is now home to more than 25 million residents. The state’s rapid population growth means that Texas is entitled to four additional representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“From almost 5 million population growth, 90 percent was due to minorities and 66% of this growth was Latino and the remaining was Black and others. Yet we didn’t get a single congressional district. Despite the state’s significant Latino growth, the congressional redistricting plan that was submitted to the federal court and DOJ denies Latinos and Blacks the ability to elect candidates of their choice, which is a violation of the Voting Rights Act.” stated Brent Wilkes, National Executive Director of LULAC.