Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Illegally Counted in Census

Save the GOP has linked to an interesting Wall Street Journal article. The crux of the story, based on current census standards - those who are included to be counted include those legally and those illegally here in the United States. What does this mean? It means that illegal immigrants would be included in the census and therefore included in how Congressional districts are reapportioned.

States like California, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona which have larger than average illegal immigrant populations would benefit and could gain Congressional seats and, in turn, electoral votes based on counting people who are not here legally. Those states with low illegal immigrant populations would be hurt as these persons are included in the census. Here's a quote from the article -
the U.S. Census Bureau is set to count all persons physically present in the country—including large numbers who are here illegally. The result will unconstitutionally increase the number of representatives in some states and deprive some other states of their rightful political representation. Citizens of “loser” states should be outraged. Yet few are even aware of what’s going on.

In 1790, the first Census Act provided that the enumeration of that year would count “inhabitants” and “distinguish” various subgroups by age, sex, status as free persons, etc. Inhabitant was a term with a well-defined meaning that encompassed, as the Oxford English Dictionary expressed it, one who “is a bona fide member of a State, subject to all the requisitions of its laws, and entitled to all the privileges which they confer.”

Thus early census questionnaires generally asked a question that got at the issue of citizenship or permanent resident status, e.g., “what state or foreign country were you born in?” or whether an individual who said he was foreign-born was naturalized. Over the years, however, Congress and the Census Bureau have added inquiries that have little or nothing to do with census’s constitutional purpose.

By 1980 there were two census forms. The shorter form went to every person physically present in the country and was used to establish congressional apportionment. It had no question pertaining to an individual’s citizenship or legal status as a resident. The longer form gathered various kinds of socioeconomic information including citizenship status, but it went only to a sample of U.S. households. That pattern was repeated for the 1990 and 2000 censuses.

The 2010 census will use only the short form.
If this bothers you, as it does me, contact your member of Congress and ask them to support a fair census that only includes those persons here legally - resident aliens and citizens.

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