This is correct. However, other Hispanic/Latino applicants may get special consideration as minorities even though they are not URMs.
See, you seem rather sure about this, yet nothing on this site or elsewhere has ever actually been able to verify this. I've gotten recruitment emails from some schools (based on GPA alone because I'm taking the lsat in December) asking me to apply and touting the Hispanic/Latino organizations. Now, I don't know if it means nothing at all but everything I've read from the schools themselves do not lend to this theory. The only thing that makes me think that people on TLS think makes it valid is simply that Mexican and PR are on two separate sections of every form for LSAC (and college for that matter). I don't know if it's true or not; but I cannot see how a law school would look at applicant 1 from Mexico and think that he's more of a URM than applicant 2 from El Salvador. I think the URM bump is broader than the TLS consensus. Anyway, my point was just that your statement sounded 100% sure, but we are not exactly sure this is the case correct?
I don't quite understand what you're saying you can't verify. You can't verify that MX or PR applicants are considered URMs but other Hispanics aren't?
This idea comes mostly from the Supreme Court case of Grutter v. Bollinger (288 F.3d 732, 2003), where it was decided that a law school's consideration of race does not violate federal law because it 1) serves a compelling state interest and 2) is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest. The narrowly-tailored interest that was protected in that case was the underrepresented enrollment of a few specified racial groups. From the case:
Grutter v. Bollinger wrote:Both the Law School and the unsuccessful applicants presented expert testimony regarding the Law School's use of race in admissions decisions. Analyzing grids of the Law School's admissions data from 1995-2000, the unsuccessful applicants' statistical expert testified that the relative odds of acceptance for Native American, African-American, Mexican-American and Puerto Rican applicants were many times greater than for Caucasian applicants and concluded that members of these groups were “given an extremely large allowance for admission.”
According to the Law School's statistical expert, eliminating race as a factor in the admissions process would dramatically lower minority admissions. He predicted, for example, that if the Law School could not consider race, under-represented minority students would have constituted only 4% of the entering class in 2000, instead of the actual enrollment figure of 14.5%. Citing the experience of the University of California at Berkeley after the passage of Proposition 209, Dean Lehman echoed these predictions, testifying that he feared under-represented minority enrollment would drop to “token” levels if race and ethnicity could not be considered.
The case held that law schools have the right to take narrowly tailored measures to increase enrollment of under-represented minority groups as long as there were not quotas involved or seats reserved specifically for those students. Thus URMs cannot be "guaranteed" admission anywhere based on their race through quota, but their applications may be viewed with the additional interest of increasing student body diversity. Several times elsewhere in the case, the courts referred to "Hispanic" applicants without specifying groups, but in that one instance "Mexican-American and Puerto Rican" enrollment numbers were specifically named as a motivation for the Michigan program's necessity.
As a result, there are a couple reasons that schools may view MX/PR applicants differently than other Hispanic applicants:
1) The courts often follow a canon of construction, expressio unius est exclusio alterius
(the inclusion of one thing is the exclusion of the others). This general principle (which you'll learn about in law school) means that when something is specified it's for a reason, and if they specify one group only then they meant to leave out the other. This usually is applied to statutes, but I'm bringing it up just to introduce the legal mindset: If something isn't specifically allowed, then it could very well turn out to not be when the courts start looking it over.
The court in this case found that URM enrollment boosting is allowed as long as it's narrowly-tailored, and they talked about how the Michigan system was
specifically tailored in increasing enrollment of those four specific groups. Thus it's clear the USSC finds that definition narrowly tailored enough, but it's not clear how much more broadly they'd allow before it stopped being "narrow". In fact, for all the court system knows, that's as broad as they intended and that's it.
This means that a school that adopted a broader system than Michigan could later be ruled unconstitutional even though Michigan's isn't. That's bad. Schools would want to avoid that if they could, and an easy way to do that is to adopt Michigan's model. If they follow Michigan's model as narrowly as possible in order to avoid getting in trouble, and they notice those four groups mentioned as the ones being benefitted by Michigan's model, then they'll tailor their URM program to those four groups.
Alternatively, schools could in fact broaden it to all Hispanics, but like I said, the broader they stretch it the more they come in danger of going beyond the USSC ruling.
2) The purpose of "under-represented minority" consideration is clear in its own language: It's to boost the enrollment of minorities
who are under-represented
. There are large numbers of Mexican-Americans and Puerto Ricans in the United States and low enrollment numbers relative to that large population. However, when you look at people from El Salvador who are U.S. residents (Salvadorian-Americans?) there aren't very many of them to have to "represent" through URM enrollment boosting.
For schools that differentiate between groups of Hispanics, there's a clearer incentive to boost Mexican-American and Puerto-Rican enrollment because of that. If they equally boost Salvadorians and all those Hispanics are competing for the same seats, then Salvadorian students would get into schools more and MX/PR students less. Ultimately the program doesn't do what it was meant to do: Boost the enrollment of Mexican-American and Puerto Rican students to reflect their
percentage of the population better. What would end up happening is Salvadorian-Americans would end up over-represented and Mexican-American/Puerto-Rican applicants would remain under-represented.
Ultimately, no I'm not sure how any specific school will view general Hispanic enrollment. There are a few ways to easily predict (those few schools that don't ask what kind of Hispanic you are obviously have no clear way to boost MX/PR applicants more), but for the vast majority of schools there's nothing clear out there. It seems obvious enough that most schools divide what they ask into "Mexican", "Puerto Rican" and "Other" groups for a reason, and that reason is likely derived from the reasons I mentioned.
I can't say for sure
that's what they're doing or why. However, I can look at is what data/precedent is available and what the public policy motives are for providing a URM consideration. It's from those two things that I feel I can safely say it's very likely
those schools will consider MX/PR applicants differently than other Hispanics.