SAN ANTONIO, TX – MALDEF, along with other partners in the Texas Latino Redistricting Task Force, unveiled initial proposed Texas congressional redistricting maps at the State Capitol in Austin.
The maps are part of two non-partisan redistricting plans focused on ensuring fair electoral opportunity for Texas Latinos; the plans present Latino opportunity districts that MALDEF and its task force partners believe are required under the federal Voting Rights Act. The plans do not make political decisions about how districts should be drawn in other areas of the state.
“The maps presented today demonstrate that additional Latino-majority congressional districts can and should be created to provide a fair opportunity to Latino voters,” stated Nina Perales, MALDEF Director of Litigation. “Latinos composed 65% of the state’s growth over the past decade and at least two Latino majority congressional districts are required under the federal Voting Rights Act,” continued Perales.
The U.S. Census reported that in 2010 there were 9,460,921 Latinos living in Texas. These plans are a critical recognition of that fact. The plans create a new congressional district based in Hidalgo and Starr Counties in the Rio Grande Valley, making it possible for voters in those fast-growing counties to elect their chosen representative.
Similarly, the plans propose the creation of a new majority Latino congressional district in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. There are more than 1.3 million Latinos in that area, representing thirty three percent of Dallas and Tarrant County residents. Yet there are currently no majority Latino congressional districts in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. These plans will afford Latinos the opportunity to elect their preferred candidate in the North Texas region.
MALDEF and its task force partners respected communities of interest in these new redistricting plans by unifying counties and neighborhoods with common characteristics. The districts unite populations with substantial economic and social commonalities; ensuring that the millions of Latinos who make up the communities represented will have a strong and effective voice in Congress.
In 2006, MALDEF successfully argued before the Supreme Court in LULAC v. Perry that the Texas congressional redistricting plan diluted Latino voting strength and violated the Voting Rights Act.
Speakers at the event included, Nina Perales, MALDEF’s Director of Litigation; Luis Figueroa, MALDEF Legislative Staff Attorney; Roberto Alonzo, Texas State Representative; Joey Cardenas, Texas LULAC President; Larry Perez, State Commander of the American GI Forum of Texas; Lydia Camarillo, Vice President of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project; Domingo Garcia, former Dallas Mayor Pro Tem; and Paul Jimenez of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.