Persons and the Census

The Supreme Court this week is taking up a case that centers on that. At issue is the question of whether President Donald Trump’s Executive Order excluding undocumented immigrants from state population counts—from the census—is a Constitutional one.

Progressive-Democrats and their Leftist supporters insist that “persons” in this context include illegal aliens.

“…inhabitants” at the nation’s origin meant people with a “usual” or “customary” residence in a state, which would include undocumented immigrants.

This is fallacious, as the WSJ‘s editors allude. Illegal aliens have no customary presence in any State—or territory. The illegality of their presence makes that condition not customary and entirely unusual, no matter for how long they’ve been able to evade the law.

Indeed, illegal aliens are, by their very illegality, every bit as transient in their States as any tourist. There is a critical difference, however: the tourist is here legally, and he’ll leave voluntarily at the end of his stay. The illegal alien is here…illegally…and he will be removed on detection, voluntarily or otherwise.

Progressive-Democrats and their Leftist supporters also insist that the Court must rule their way because otherwise Progressive-Democrat-run States stand to lose representation in the House of Representatives. This, too, is fallacious. Any relative loss or gain of representation is an outcome of the census and associated redistricting, not of any court action, which action can only be to uphold existing (here, census or immigration) law.

Their argument also is a cynical one. States plainly shouldn’t have the representation they have now to the extent their representation is based on the number of illegal aliens present. Nor is it the case that only Progressive-Democrat-run States could lose representation. Republican States can find themselves in the same strait—see, for instance, Texas, which is carefully ignored in their argument.

The only persons who should be counted in this, or any, census are those who are here permanently: American citizens and legal immigrants.

Illegal aliens, though, are not census persons, for all that they are human beings.

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