Census

Supporters of the Census Citizenship Question Expose the Administration's Dishonest Justifications

A higher non-response rate among illegal immigrants is a goal to be celebrated, not some minor potential side effect to be lamented, Kris Kobach, David Vitter, and other would-be gerrymanderers stress.

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When Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced Monday night that the decennial Census in 2020 would for the first time in 70 years ask all respondents about their citizenship status, he did so in the name of promoting a "more effective enforcement" of the Voting Rights Act, an objective he deemed "of greater importance than any adverse effect that may result from people violating their legal duty to respond." (Ross also repeatedly stressed that there is "limited empirical evidence exists about whether adding a citizenship question would decrease response rates materially.")

Yet the people responding enthusiastically to the decision have not been what you would describe as Voting Rights Act enforcement enthusiasts; quite the opposite. And many, contra Ross's protestations, see the prospect of an illegal-immigrant undercount as a goal to be achieved, not a side effect to be avoided.

One person already taking partial credit for the move is Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the country's most notorious hunter for ever-elusive illegal-immigrant voter fraud, and until its January dissolution the key man behind Donald Trump's Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Kobach, the architect behind Mitt Romney's 2012 policy of "self-deportation" before advising the Trump campaign on same, bragged to The Kansas City Star Tuesday that "I raised the [Census] issue with the president shortly after he was inaugurated," and that "he was absolutely interested in this." The wording change could directly impact the redrawing of the House map, Kobach said, particularly in states like California that have "congressional seats inflated by counting illegal aliens."

According to both the Constitution and all active Supreme Court precedent on the issue, House reapportionment is based on the number of residents, not number of legal residents or eligible voters. So the only way to act upon the viscerally objectionable Census/illegals/reapportionment formula is to consciously depress the inputs. Wilbur Ross and the Justice Department (which requested the change to begin with) are not open about this aim, but Kobach and other supporters are.

Take former Sen. David Vitter (R-La.). In 2009, Vitter introduced an amendment that would mandate that the Census ask about citizenship. His rationale? "States that have large populations of illegals [are] rewarded for that. Other states, including my home state of Louisiana, [are] penalized." Hard to be clearer than that. Oh, and you'll never guess from which Senate office President Trump plucked his first political appointee to the Census Bureau….

||| Chris Kleponis/dpa/picture-alliance/Newscom
Chris Kleponis/dpa/picture-alliance/Newscom

Sales pitch to the contrary, the architects of the citizenship wording-change are not big defenders of the Voting Rights Act. John Gore, who ProPublica reports drafted the original DOJ request, "came to the Trump administration from the law firm Jones Day, where he was an appellate specialist best known for defending a range of Republican state redistricting plans that were attacked as racial gerrymandering by opponents." (Recall that Trump's first choice to head up the Census, since withdrawn, also came from the world of GOP redistricting.) Gore is now acting chief of the Justice Dept.'s Civil Rights Division.

The Census Bureau's mission creep over the years has been godawful, as a scanning of the hot-off-the-presses proposed 2020 questionnaire will reveal. As government has grown larger, so has its appetite for minute demographic data extracted from its subjects upon threat of punishment. If you think the Census hasn't been politicized before, you haven't been paying attention.

The sole purpose of the exercise, in the beginning anyway, was to determine the most accurate possible head count, so that the House of Representatives could be re-jiggered every 10 years. With all the layers and add-ons and social engineering since then, it perhaps should come as no surprise that we have arrived at an opposite destination.

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  1. I see no “libertarian” issue here.

    1. You cannot have open borders and a welfare state at the same time:

      http://www.reuters.com/article…..SKBN1FS2ZK

      Report: More than half of immigrants on welfare

      Quote:
      About 51% of immigrant-led households receive at least one kind of welfare benefit, including Medicaid, food stamps, school lunches and housing assistance, compared to 30% for native-led households? Those numbers increase for households with children, with 76% of immigrant-led households receiving welfare, compared to 52% for the native-born.

      1. What’s the number of actual welfare receivers?

        1. Looking it over, one big question I have is how much of the difference is from these immigrants having larger families, and thus larger households. Because the only two areas that show a difference are Food related things, in particular reduced School Lunches are much higher, and Medicaid. The others are equal or less than natives. And so it makes me wonder how many of the natives who don’t are simply childless.

          Medicaid is also an interesting one. I’m curious to see a state-by-state breakdown by that one. As I wonder how much of it corresponds to the fact that California has some of the most generous public health-care laws. And California is traditionally the most immigrant heavy state, by a fairly large margin.

          Finally, “There is simply no question that many immigrants have children after they arrive and find it difficult to provide for them. This, of course, does not mean they had the children to get welfare. Nonetheless, many immigrants turn to taxpayers and the welfare system for support because they unable to provide for their own children.” is a loaded statement. And the data does not support it unless you make a false assumption that people only receive welfare if they absolutely need it.

          That latter point is a common cry for welfare reformers even. As opposed to people such as myself who think we should do away with the whole thing.

          1. Norfolk Public Schools offers free breakfast for ALL students at, i believe, most of its schools now. If your kid goes to one of these schools and grabs a shitty pre-wrapped French toast stick on the way to class, this report would classify you as a welfare recipient.

            1. Both sides take advantage of the intentional obfuscation of any useful numbers.

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          2. “Camarota said one of the most shocking findings from the report was the high number of native-born Americans also on welfare.”

            Ding ding ding. Immigrants are assimilating and adopting American culture… of loving those gov’t handouts.

            1. And supporting Democrats who promise more largesse. So, you see, it’s all about votes, present and future.

            2. Ding ding ding. Immigrants are assimilating and adopting American culture… of loving those gov’t handouts.

              Exactly! Those people who complain that immigrants are “voting for socialism”… well, they are the assimilated ones! How can they be faulted for voting for programs that native-born Americans themselves established?

              1. “How can they be faulted……”

                Really not the point.

            3. That’s human nature the world over. We have some inertial resistance to that paradigm in American culture, however much it’s been eroded by our native leftists. There is very little resistance to the “suck up to the govt to get free shit” in the rest of the world.

              Importing welfare-consumer foreigners is not the solution to the welfare-consumer natives problem. It just makes it worse.

      2. You can’t have a welfare state and liberty at the same time

        1. Depends on how you define “liberty”.

          If you give it the Shikah definition, “Anybody can come to your Country and steal from its citizens”, then you’re right.

          I generally do NOT answer the extra questions on the census. I’ve been hounded for answers before and refused to budge. But I think “Are you a citizen?” is a 100% reasonable question that fits quite well with the intent of the census – which is to fix representation. Criminal aliens should have NO representation in the Country they’ve invaded. If this question further inconveniences them – GOOD! If it means less welfare distribution in their locals, starvation and death – GOOD! Don’t like it? GO HOME!

    2. Surely you jest. I don’t think I’ve seen a libertarian issue discussed here in decades.

      But at least we aren’t the only ones with an immigration problem:

      https://tinyurl.com/ycbugk6o

      1. Dick, why should we know that you are (?) a lawyer? Where/what is the “here” in which you haven’t seen libertarian issue? Or need we inquire?

  2. Voting is our most important right. We need to make sure every single person has a chance to vote.

    It’s all that “speech” of the trollz that we really need to worry about.

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  3. This nonsense issue really has Matt’s panties twisted up.

    1. Really? I though Matt was going al fresco these days, to increase his appeal to Chris Hayes at MSNBC.

  4. When reading commentary on this issue, it is pretty amazing to see how many people who claim to be from the PRO-CONSTITUTION tribe have seemingly never read Article 1 and think that the plan to count all residents in the Census is some sort of “liberal plot” to tilt the balance of power to blue states.

    1. As opposed to all those libertarians who claimed that immigration had nothing to do with voting? Two totally separatrle things, we were told.

      There’s more than one mask slipping here.

    2. It was written in a not-entirely-careful way, that statists later on would find ways of exploiting for their statist purposes. Much like other parts of the constitution such as the commerce clause and the second amendment’s militia reference.

      The census was also intended to leave Indians uncounted and count blacks as 3/5 of a person, so forgive me for thinking the founders were not infallible in their intentions.

      1. NO not infallible…but a need for adoption of the Constitution required compromise….difficult with the irrational and the envious and greedy…Many “intentions” can be found in the Federalist Papers. Could a Constitution be approved today?

        1. It’s largely the difference in politicians between then and now. today’s politicians would excrete something like the EU constitution.

          Using the Fed Papers as annexes to the constitution is invalid also, as the Fed Papers were never ratified. The state conventions would have been horrified to be told that future courts would think they ratified not the text on the page but whatever was in Madison’s head when he wrote it.

          1. What? Ignore the thing that was utilized simply as a measure to advertise intent? The entire purpose of those writings was to elucidate the core ideas written into the document they were trying to ratify. By they, I mean all of the federalists that contributed to those many pages. It wasn’t Madison alone. And if you want the counter argument read the Anti-federalist papers.

            1. Bob is looking for an apartment. He visits a property and the landlord shows him the lease. The lease contains a line prohibiting “hazardous items” from being kept in the apartment with no further detail about the meaning of that phrase. After carefully reading the lease, Bob signs it and moves in.

              Meanwhile, the landlord had been writing a series of anonymous op-eds in the local paper saying that guns and ammo are hazardous items.

              A month later, it is discovered that Bob has guns and ammo in his apartment. The landlord sues for eviction, as he considers guns and ammo to be “hazardous items”. Bob disputes this, saying that the term is not widely understood to include guns and ammo, so he should not be forced to comply with the landlord’s opinions which were not part of the lease and he would never have agreed to the lease if they were.

              Should the court accept the landlord’s anonymous op-eds as evidence that the lease really did prohibit guns and ammo, because that was the intent in the landlord’s mind when he wrote it?

  5. Fuck the Voting Rights Act too. 150 years of Reconstruction is enough.

  6. Are census takers going to be requiring proof of citizenship?

    1. I can’t speak to that but I’m certainly going to require proof of identification, citizenship, and a 1 million dollar bond to ensure the security of my data from any census taker that knocks on my door and seriously wants answers. I think it will be difficult to answer the Hispanic portion when it comes to my kids, Canis Lupus and Felis Catus.

  7. I don’t have a problem with determining citizenship status: people here with visas or green cards are not to vote, and making a determination of the citizen component is overdue on account of most registrars “inspection” of voter registrations assertions doesn’t go beyond what boxes are checked. Look back at how slaver states were dealt with at the inception of the nation: the 3/5 count was a mechanism to prevent those states from outright buying extra seats in congress, using/abusing people that weren’t able to vote [under their states laws]. California is now a modern slaver state [being run by neo-confederates], but since they don’t issue deed & title they flew under the constitutional radar and buy their extra reps via welfare money to keep the illegal in their districts. Prior to Lincoln, people were brought here against their will, with no return ticket, so that compromise in punishing states for their laws accomodating the morally reprehensible seems right. But illegals today came here by choice: jumping our borders, or abusing their entry visas and disappearing into the shadows. If they want representation, they need to secure their legal status and become citizens.

    1. But illegals today came here by choice: jumping our borders, or abusing their entry visas and disappearing into the shadows. If they want representation, they need to secure their legal status and become citizens.

      Some came to this country as infants.

      The libertarian position is to make it easy for people to immigrate.

      (Also, if you figure California is a slaver state, what do you make of largely unreconstructed states such as Alabama and Mississippi?)

      1. It’s also the libertarian position to not have social welfare and a war on drugs.

      2. The libertarian position is to keep America as libertarian as we can manage, which would preclude importation of Big Government voters.

        1. Who around here is demanding that anyone should be “imported”? Anyone?

          Not forbidding the free movement of labor across borders is not the same as “importing” anyone.

          1. What about the free movement of welfare consumers? Because that’s most of what we’re doing at this point.

          2. Jeff, you’re assuming they’re all ‘labor’. Not true.

            No open borders. No more illegals.

      3. I’ll get right on that note free immigration as soon as you and chemjeff so your endless shilling for gubmint cheese for all.

      4. “To make it easy for people to immigrate” may be the globalist libertarian position.
        The American libertarian position is to adhere to the Constitution of the United States, and that puts immigration decisions in the hands of Congress, which has said non-citizens can’t vote.
        Having apportionment include those not permitted to be part of the voting public – as described in Section 2 of the 14th amendment – makes sense only to the DC Nazgul.
        IMPEACH GINSBERG, BREYER, SOTOMAYOR, KEGAN, KENNEDY AS TRAITORS.

  8. But is there such a thing as an illegal resident?

    1. You can live somewhere and not be a legal resident.

  9. But is there such a thing as an illegal resident?

  10. According to both the Constitution and all active Supreme Court precedent on the issue, House reapportionment is based on the number of residents,

    ….excluding Indians, non-taxed.

    And that covers the indigenous Mexicans who cross the borders who are ‘non-taxed’–as well as'(thanks to linguistic limitations) folks from the Indian subcontinent and Asia Minor who come here illegally.

    Thanks for pointing that out, Matt.

    1. This is an interesting point. One could easily argue that mujaheddin from Pakistan, or there about, who are within the U.S. confines illegally wouldn’t be counted. Lovely.

    2. Most Mexicans have mostly European ancestry actually. Applies even more so to Central and South America.

      A very light skinned Colombian friend of mine put it more bluntly: the further south the Spanish went the more natives they exterminated.

      1. “Clifford Worley: So you see, way back then, uh, Sicilians were like, uh, wops from Northern Italy. Ah, they all had blonde hair and blue eyes, but, uh, well, then the Moors moved in there, and uh, well, they changed the whole country. They did so much fuckin’ with Sicilian women, huh? That they changed the whole bloodline forever. That’s why blonde hair and blue eyes became black hair and dark skin. You know, it’s absolutely amazing to me to think that to this day, hundreds of years later, that, uh, that Sicilians still carry that nigger gene. Now this…
        [Coccotti busts out laughing]”

        From ‘True Romance, presented without edit.

  11. “According to both the Constitution and all active Supreme Court precedent on the issue, House reapportionment is based on the number of residents, not number of legal residents or eligible voters. ”

    Because legal documents would of course not mean the *legal* definition of resident when they use the word resident.

    Interesting tell on the “active” Supreme Court precedent.

  12. And what about the dishonest objections from the left?

    “With all the layers and add-ons and social engineering since then…”

    Funny how the left has no problem with the add-ons and social engineering when they are the ones in charge of the engineering?or is that rigging.

  13. For most of the existence of the Census, asking “How many residents of this household are U.S. Citizens?” was thoroughly non-controversial…….So WTF Changed?
    Doesn’t the Government – and The People – of the United States deserve knowing how many U.S. Citizens are living within the confines of that nation?
    The controversy goes beyond Trump Derangement Syndrome, and pushes into American Derangement Syndrome; and if allowed to continue, will not end well.

  14. Illegal is illegal! Whatever word comes after that is not relevant.

    1. True, and the efforts that so many here go to here to the contrary are astounding.

  15. The primary goal of the Census is to obtain an accurate head count of *residents*. Not just citizens, but residents. So sayeth Article 1 of the Constitution.

    If some secondary goal of the Census – such as, obtaining statistical information that would be valuable in some way – detracts from the primary goal of the Census, then the secondary goal should be dropped in favor of the primary goal.

    So if asking the citizenship question would deter some residents from voting, such as those who are undocumented immigrants but nonetheless fall under the Constitutional definition of resident – then don’t ask the citizenship question.

    It would be exactly the same, by the way, if Obama had changed the census to, say, ask a question about gun ownership. Rightfully so, many gun owners would feel deterred from participating in the Census, being suspicious of Obama’s motivations for asking such a question. Since that would deter legal residents from participating in the Census, such as legal gun owners, then it would have been a bad idea to add that question.

    1. The primary goal of the Census is to obtain an accurate head count of *residents*. Not just citizens, but residents. So sayeth Article 1 of the Constitution.

      That distinction was not made.

      It would be exactly the same, by the way, if Obama had changed the census to, say, ask a question about gun ownership. Rightfully so, many gun owners would feel deterred from participating in the Census, being suspicious of Obama’s motivations for asking such a question. Since that would deter legal residents from participating in the Census, such as legal gun owners, then it would have been a bad idea to add that question.

      Bad idea, but probably not illegal or unconstitutional. Pretty lousy analogy anyway, since gun ownership is a protected right while illegal presence is not. Also, saying you’re not a citizen does not imply that you are an illegal alien; you could be a green card holder or visa holder, so there’s no fifth amendment concerns.

    2. Actually you’re wrong to begin with. Here is the actual text.

      Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

      The criteria for associating a “free Person” with a particular state is not specified. Residency? Domicile? Citizenship? Not clear.

      1. Not a slave.

        1. If a non-citizen with a green card works in Ohio on a temporary assignment for a year, lives in an apartment in Kentucky, has a residence in Colorado, and originates from Romania, which, if any state do they count in?

          I suspect the current standard would be based on domicile, which would mean Kentucky. But there’s nothing in the constitution that specifies this.

          1. Read Section 2 of the 14th amendment.
            It gets more “into the weeds” of who is to be counted and “citizen of the United States” is clearly mentioned.

            1. It was also 80 years later and didn’t have anything to do with the census. It just said that the number of (male and over 21) citizens who are deprived of their right to vote gets subtracted from the state’s population for representation purposes. It does not say how the original population number is to be computed.

    3. So if asking the citizenship question would deter some residents from voting, such as those who are undocumented immigrants but nonetheless fall under the Constitutional definition of resident – then don’t ask the citizenship question.

      I’m going to assume you mean answering because “undocumented immigrants” aren’t allowed to vote. As to the primary goal of the census it actually reads “in such Manner as they shall by Law direct” so it’s pretty open ended as to what the powers that be wish so if that means non-participation by certain folk it means non-participation. Personally, I haven’t participated since I was an adult because they didn’t enclose a check with the questionnaire. If they want me to take my time answering questions they can pay me my usual hourly rate otherwise it’s an illegal taking under the 5th Amendment.

  16. Considering the numbers of citizens on welfare and other entitlements, why not legalize the existing residents and allow them naturalized citizenship….at the same time requiring all future US births to qualify for citizenship through naturalization as well. A “Level playing Field”?

    1. Even I know the answer to this one.

      Because that will, literally, cause even more people to come here on the off-chance that it might happen again. And if it happens once in government, someone in government will benefit, and that someone will fight damn hard to make sure it becomes standard policy.

      End welfare and the nanny state that it enables – use that money to build the wall if you must (even though it’ll no longer be needed)- and our immigration ‘problem’ goes away.

    2. Why should we reward lawbreaking in such a manner? If someone got caught after burgling your house would you like them to be pardoned and granted the property they stole from you?

  17. Here’s what I don’t get about this whole thing – for and against.

    If you’re here illegally, you’re either not going to be around when the census taker shows up or you’re going to lie. So what’s the point?

    Seriously? How many subversives do you think the “have you ever been a member of or associated with any organization . . .” questions ever caught?

    1. And, if you want to know how many people are in an area for the purpose of the number of Representatives – just cout the registered voter rolls.

      After all, if you aren’t registered to vote, you’re not going to vote, so ‘you don’t get to complain about it’ (ie, you don’t count) anyway.

    2. Here’s what I don’t get about this whole thing – for and against.

      At the same time, a voluntary question that you don’t have to answer truthfully every four years is about as least burdensome a serving of a vested public interest as you can get. Census, as it exists now, being the most onerous, costly, and invasive embodiment of government would be a libertarian motherfucking win.

    3. 13 USC 211

      (a) Whoever, being over eighteen years of age, refuses or willfully neglects, when requested by the Secretary, or by any other authorized officer or employee of the Department of Commerce or bureau or agency thereof acting under the instructions of the Secretary or authorized officer, to answer, to the best of his knowledge, any of the questions on any schedule submitted to him in connection with any census or survey provided for by subchapters I, II, IV, and V of chapter 5 of this title, applying to himself or to the family to which he belongs or is related, or to the farm or farms of which he or his family is the occupant, shall be fined not more than $100.

      (b) Whoever, when answering questions described in subsection (a) of this section, and under the conditions or circumstances described in such subsection, willfully gives any answer that is false, shall be fined not more than $500.

      (c) Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, no person shall be compelled to disclose information relative to his religious beliefs or to membership in a religious body.

      1. Are you literally trying to tell me that criminals – you know, the people living here illegally – are going to answer the question truthfully because to do otherwise is against the law? You know, those people already breaking the law?

        Or is there something else to this post?

  18. Posisi libertarian adalah menjaga Amerika sebagai libertarian yang bisa kita kelola, yang akan menghalangi impor pemilih Pemerintah Besar.

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