Here’s the Real Reason Dems Oppose Census Change
Immigration think tank director says blue-state liberals fear loss of power if decennial count of American population only covers citizens, legal residents
Monday’s announcement that the U.S. Census Bureau will include a citizenship question in its decennial head count in 2020 sparked all kinds of caterwauling from the Left and a legal challenge from the Golden State.
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla called the move an attempt “to stoke the fires of anti-immigrant hostility.”
Government funding is based, in part, on population figures. But Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), said on “The Laura Ingraham Show” Tuesday that California politicians are most concerned about the loss of congressional seats.
“The important thing is they aren’t just afraid of losing money for Medicare and other kinds of things,” he said. “What they really fear, ultimately, is that House districts, House of Representative apportionment to the states, will be based on actual citizens rather than just warm bodies.”
By some estimates, California gets an additional five House seats because of the population boost the state receives from its noncitizen residents, both legal and illegal.
The apportionment issue has come before the courts, most recently in 2016 when the Supreme Court turned down a challenge to Texas state legislative districts by residents who argued that lines should be drawn based on citizens.
“It seems perfect common sense that we should ask … So they stopped in 1960 because everybody was a U.S. citizen by then.”
The justices did not address the question, however, of whether a state could draw political maps based on citizens.
The decision to ask residents whether they are citizens drew praise from the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), which works to make sure elections officials maintain accurate voter rolls. J. Christian Adams, the group’s president, said in a statement that only citizens should have political power.
“It’s critical that the next redistricting cycle account for the citizen residents of districts so urban centers do not unfairly profit from the political subsidy that higher noncitizen populations provide,” Adams said. “This carries the nation one step closer to preventing against actual foreign influences in our elections.”
Krikorian (pictured above) noted that asking about citizenship has precedent.
“Well, we used to ask,” he told Ingraham. “We, in fact, still do ask whether you’re a U.S. citizen or not. They’re not asking, ‘Are you an illegal alien,’ just, ‘Are you a U.S. citizen, yes or no’ in the very large surveys that the Census Bureau does all the time, every month. And then all kinds of government things are based on that data.”
The last time the main census form asked about citizenship was in 1950.
“It seems perfect common sense that we should ask … So they stopped in 1960 because everybody was a U.S. citizen by then,” Krikorian said. “It was like, ‘Well, what’s the point of even asking this question?’ Well, now there is obviously a pretty clear point to asking this question.”
Krikorian disputed claims that asking the citizenship question would reduce participation in the census and harm the accuracy of the results. He pointed to his think tank’s analysis of census response rates, conducted by research director Steven Camarota.
The analysis indicates that response rates to the annual Census Bureau surveys — which do ask about citizenship — have not changed since President Donald Trump took office.
“The data suggests probably not,” Krikorian said in response to concerns raised by Democrats that response to the main census form would be harmed. “It probably wouldn’t affect it too much.”