‘It makes no sense to distribute Congressional seats as if these foreign nationals deserved representation…’
(Quin Hillyer, Liberty Headlines) The nation’s decennial census is now becoming the latest skirmish in the political war over illegal immigration.
Two Alabama office-holders on Monday filed suit in federal district court against the Census Bureau’s plans to include illegal immigrants in its official count of a state’s residents.
Attorney General Steve Marshall and U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks note in the suit that states with relatively few illegals, such as Alabama, lose representation in Congress and the presidential Electoral College if the aliens are part of the census count.
Indeed, Marshall said projections show Alabama will lose one of its seven House seats, and one of its nine electoral votes, under current Census plans.
A group called the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) explained the problem: “Because illegal aliens should not even be in the country, and other nonimmigrants such as foreign students and guest workers are here only temporarily, it makes no sense to distribute Congressional seats as if these foreign nationals deserved representation the same as American citizens.”
Furthermore, says FAIR: “Besides the distortions in apportionment of representation among the states and in the number of citizens represented by each representative, the Census also causes distortions when it is used to allocate federal public assistance funds among the states because nonimmigrants, including illegal aliens, are not entitled to public welfare.”
Alabama’s lawsuit notes that the Yellowhammer State isn’t the only one likely to be harmed by the inclusion of illegals in the count.
Ohio also is expected to find itself one House seat short of what it otherwise would have.
The suit says Ohio similarly lost a seat in the 2010 census because of this Census Bureau policy, as did Louisiana and Missouri.
The suit says that counting illegals violates the 14thAmendment guarantee that citizens should have equal protection/representation under the law, and violates the Constitution’s requirement for “an actual enumeration” of what the 14thAmendment in another clause specifies are “citizens of the United States.”
In a column two years ago, Heritage Foundation scholars Hans von Spakovsky and Elizabeth Slattery presaged Alabama’s arguments in a column at The Daily Signal.
The presence of illegals, they wrote, “distorts the redistricting and apportionment process and shifts political power in a way that is fundamentally unfair to citizens, both those eligible to vote and those, like children, who are not eligible.”
Alas (from Alabama’s standpoint), the Supreme Court, while never ruling on the issue as it pertains to the U.S. Census, did decide two years ago that individual states could use (but did not say must use) illegals in their own intra-state apportionment decisions.
That decision does not mean Alabama will lose this fight, but it does indicate that the high court considers illegals to be valid considerations in similar circumstances.
On the flip side, even the very idea of asking residents if they are or are not citizens is facing major flak from officials in liberal states.
When the Trump administration earlier this year announced plans to include such a question in the 2020 census, 17 states sued to block the question.
They said the question alone would spark fear in immigrant populations.
And, as their argument was described in a piece in the far-left Mother Jones magazine, “If immigrant communities don’t respond to the census because of fear over the citizenship question, that would deny significant federal resources and political representation to diverse states like New York and California, and shift economic and political power to whiter and more Republican areas.”
(Note the Left’s insertion of racial issues into a non-inherently racial legal argument.)
Liberal Democrats in Congress have tried to rake some Trump officials over the coals because of the planned citizenship question.
In explaininghis lawsuit, and in effect responding to the earlier suit filed by the liberal states, Rep. Brooks said that “While some stand for illegal aliens, I stand for American citizens…. After all, this is America, not the United Nations.”