The Trump administration’s decision to modify the 2020 Census to ask people if they are US citizens is an unconstitutional power grab that would hurt many disadvantaged Americans. It must be stopped.
The United States Constitution requires “royal enumeration” of the total population with an explicit purpose: to count the residents — not just citizens, residents — of each state to appropriately assign congressional representatives to states based on population.
Asking if someone is a citizen could cause some immigrants, not only non-citizens, but also those with non-citizen family members or close friends, not to answer out of fear that they or their loved ones will be deported. In the current climate of fear, this is not an irrational response.
The result would be a Systemic undercounting of immigrant communities — with two manifestly unfair results.
First, these communities and the states in which they are located would receive less federal aid.. Census data is used in more than 132 programs across the country to allocate more than $675 billion each year.
An undercount would deprive many immigrant communities and their states of the health care, education and assistance they need and are entitled to.
Second, these communities and the states in which they are located would have fewer representatives in Congress. The census count determines the distribution of seats in Congress among the states. Under the Constitution, these seats depend on the total number of people residing in the state, not just citizens.
Which is the real reason for this move by the Trump administration. It’s no secret that eligible immigrants tend to vote Democrat. Thus, undercounting neighborhoods that are largely Latino or Asian would mean fewer Democratic members of Congress.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says the citizenship issue is necessary to better enforce the Voting Rights Act. Baloney. The Trump administration has shown zero interest in the Voting Rights Act. He has even defended voter suppression laws in court.
This is nothing more than a Republican takeover orchestrated by the White House. Tell your members of Congress, he must be stopped.