That’s what California’s Attorney General, Xavier Bacerra (D), says. The Commerce Department has said the 2020 census form will include a question asking whether the respondent is an American citizen, and Bacerra doesn’t like it. In the op-ed he co-wrote with California’s Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D) for the San Francisco Chronicle, he wrote
Including a citizenship question on the 2020 census is not just a bad idea—it is illegal
and he repeated that claim in one of his tweets.
Never mind that there’s plenty of precedent: the Census Bureau asked this question during its decennial census-takings every time from 1820 through 1950, and every year through today on its annual census sampling.
The two politicians claim further that
California, with its large immigrant communities, would be disproportionately harmed by depressed participation in the 2020 census. An undercount would threaten at least one of California’s seats in the House of Representatives (and, by extension, an elector in the electoral college).
The second part of that claim is true—undercounting the eligible folks would reduce legitimate representation. The first part of that claim is patently false. Here’s what the 14th Amendment says on the matter [the 19th Amendment broadened the franchise to include women]:
…when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced….
Citizens of the United States (who also are citizens of California, as the 14th Amendment also makes clear) and legally resident non-citizen immigrants have no fear of answering the Census’ question. The only folks who might be hesitant are the illegal aliens. Since they’re not citizens, and so not eligible to vote, their “undercounting” can have no effect on California’s apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives or in the Electoral College. Bacerra, especially, as the highly educated, trained, and talented lawyer that he is, knows this full well.
It’s plain that these Progressive-Democrats, in the expectation that illegal immigrants would vote Progressive-Democrat, want the illegals to dilute the votes of American citizens, not all of whom do vote Progressive-Democrat—even in California.
It’s also true that “undercounting” can have the effect of depressing Federal funds transfers to the States that are undercounted. Here, though, it’s the responsibility of those States allowing illegal residents to stay—even actively protecting them—in violation of Federal law to pay the costs of those illegalities. No Federal funds should be transferred for those costs. These Progressive-Democrats, though, are anxious to keep the spigot of OPM wide open for their own spending imperatives.