The Latest GOP Suppression Effort: The 2020 Census

The Trump administration’s plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census is their latest attempt to punish Democratic states. It’s another tactic in their broader efforts to suppress the vote. The same Republicans that have pushed strict voter ID laws are behind this attack to alter an accurate census count.

The Kansas Secretary of State, Republican Kris Kobach, is the national architect of these voter ID laws. He implemented the most extreme Kansas voter ID requiring proof of citizenship. He has been defending the 2013 law in court this month.

He wrote an opinion piece for Brietbart in January endorsing adding the citizenship question to the census. Kobach admitted that he recommended adding the citizenship question to President Trump.

“I won’t go into exact detail, but I raised the issue with the president shortly after he was inaugurated,” Kobach said.

The constitution requires a national census every 10 years. It requires counting all residents, both citizens and non-citizens. The result of that count determines the ratio used to apportion hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funds to the states.  All types of political boundaries from school districts to the number of U. S. House seats depend on the census count.

The number of electoral votes each state gets in the Electoral College is determined by the census. The amount of federal funding local governments receive for programs like Medicaid, Headstart and school lunches depend on accurate census counts. Since the census is conducted every ten years the results could provide Republicans with an advantage for years to come.

The Republicans’ intent with this requirement to declare one’s citizenship will further frighten an already worried immigrant population. It’s predicted that requiring every resident to declare their citizenship on a census questionnaire will severely curtail participation in the census. If large numbers of the population refuse to participate in the census it will have devastating effects on the states with high immigrant populations.

Note: Iowa lost one House seat as a result of the 2010 census. Iowa had five congressional districts prior to the census and was reduced to four following the census. That’s just one of the reasons the census is so critical to political power.

Since California has a high number of immigrants, the consequences of large number of immigrants refusing to participate could be devastating to the state. It’s estimated that California could lose one to three House seats if this census question is added. Both immigrant citizens and non-citizens would likely refuse to participate fearing that answering a question about citizenship might be used later by the Trump Administration to target them for deportation.

Both New York and California are suing to stop this change to the census.

“It is long settled that all persons residing in the United States — citizens and non-citizens alike — must be counted to fulfill the Constitution’s ‘actual Enumeration’ mandate,” the California lawsuit stated.

California Attorney General Becerra says in their lawsuit that the census change is unconstitutional. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller signed on in support of the California lawsuit as well.

“The Census numbers provide the backbone for planning how our communities can grow and thrive in the coming decade,” Becerra said in a statement. “California simply has too much to lose for us to allow the Trump Administration to botch this important decennial obligation. What the Trump Administration is requesting is not just alarming, it is an unconstitutional attempt to discourage an accurate Census count.”

Iowans are expressing their concern as well. David Barajas, with the Marshalltown Chamber of Commerce, said he fears a citizenship question will scare residents and end up in underreporting census numbers. Since about one-third of Marshalltown residents are minorities, it could seriously threaten the town’s federal funding.

“Questions like that provide an opportunity for some people to, whether they are here legally or not, to maybe want to step back in the shadows a little bit, and I think what would be a real harm for all of our communities,” Barajas said.

Sister Chris Feagan, with Marshalltown’s St Mary’s Catholic Church, said, “If the person is living here and have their family here and are working here, why is that question important?”


by Rick Smith
Posted 3/30/18

1 Comment on "The Latest GOP Suppression Effort: The 2020 Census"

  • This would potentially affect ANY non-citizen (and, as Rick points out, immigrant citizens) – Green card holders, those granted asylum, those who have applied for citizenship and whose applications are working their way through the bureaucracy, those non-citizens married to citizens, DACA recipients, those non-citizens “still American enough” to serve in our Armed Forces (as well as the undocumented).
    It has also been struck down several times by the courts in the past as it tried to rear its ugly xenophobic head.
    I wonder what would happen if they (and it is something I contemplate doing if this idiocy becomes “law”) if one were to fill out the census form and REFUSE to fill out that particular question? Would that be counted? Would they come to deport me (I was born – Chicago – and raised here…)?
    Kobach is getting slapped around right now (he’s the fool who has himself as a client), and he needs to be slapped arpound legally some more.

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