Skip to comments.Why The Left Is Going Gonzo Over Asking Citizenship Status On The Census
Posted on 03/06/2018 5:11:22 AM PST by rlmorel
Why The Left Is Going Gonzo Over Asking Citizenship Status On The Census By Ben Weingarten The Federalist; https://thefederalist.com/2018/03/01/left-going-gonzo-asking-citizenship-status-census/ ************************************************************************
Is it a bigger threat to republican government when American citizens are hypothetically better represented, or when noncitizens in actuality dilute their representation? This is a question at the core of an emerging controversy over a seemingly trivial question the Department of Justice has urged the Census Bureau to reinstate on the 2020 Census: Are you a U.S. citizen?
The census is essential to our political process because it provides a population count of citizens and noncitizens that drives apportionment of U.S. House seats, and by extension the number of presidential electors allocated to each state. The census also dictates where and to whom the federal government doles out hundreds of billions of dollars.
The DOJ is pushing to reinstate the citizenship question because it says the government needs a more accurate count of the citizen voting-age population in order to enforce the Voting Rights Act, which protects voters from discrimination including vote-dilution. In addition to the solid legal, political and practical grounds for the DOJs position, it seems reasonable that the government and the public should have reliable citizenship figures given how critical the numbers are to our political system.
Democrats disagree. In the words of 17 state attorneys general, including a citizenship question could risk an unconstitutional undercount by chilling noncitizen respondents.
That those state attorneys general were recently joined by former Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder indicates the gravity of this issue for the Left. Why? Illegal aliens tend to live in large blue urban areas. The greater the population figures due to the counting of illegal aliens, the more political power and bacon such states can bring in.
There are also political benefits to harping on this issue: Fear-mongering over the citizenship question plays into the narrative of the racist, anti-immigrant Trump administration a narrative that can be leveraged to raise money and increase turnout. And with the 2022 redistricting based on the 2020 census a redistricting largely tied to the partisan makeup of state legislatures making this a national issue in a 2018 midterm election year in which gubernatorial elections are being held in 36 states makes good political sense.
That a man of Mr. Holders status among Democrats is wading into the debate over one question in the census is notable. In post-AG life, Holder, a true progressive believer and member of the Resistance, chairs the Democratic National Redistricting Committee, redistricting based of course in part on the census. It is telling that he and presumably former President Obama feel Holders highest and best use is in the technical and arcane process of redistricting.
It is worth taking seriously then a piece Holder clearly published for a popular audience at The New Republic, telegraphing the debate to come, titled Who Counts? How the Trump administrations scheme to rig the census threatens American democracy.
Holder begins his argument by noting that U.S. households have not been asked about citizenship on the main census questionnaire since 1950. [Emphasis mine] This is deceptive. Holder omits that some one in six households received a question on citizenship through the long-form census as recently as 2000, i.e., when the last census was produced prior to the Obama tenure. The citizenship question was found in long-form censuses from 1970 to 2000. Citizenship questions have appeared in the U.S. census dating back to 1820.
Even after the long-form census disappeared, a citizenship question persisted. The Obama administration included the question in the American Community Survey (ACS), which is received by one in 38 households. Note that the result is a smaller and thus less accurate sample for data used in Voting Rights Act enforcement. Also worth noting: Since 2000, response rates to the ACS have routinely been 95 percent or higher. Does Mr. Holder fear the potentially more accurate data that including this question on the 2020 Census might provide? Is the citizenship question no less chilling in the ACS than in the census?
Holder claims inclusion of the citizenship question on the 2020 Census will both lower the response rate of households and threaten the accuracy of the count. But did this potential fear not exist again between 1970 and 2000, when politicians across the political spectrum, including President Bill Clinton, who appointed Holder deputy attorney general, took a far harder line on illegal immigration? I grant that during the Obama years noncitizens may not have had such trepidations with respect to the ACS, given the administrations lax enforcement of immigration law, but nevertheless, millions of noncitizens evidently responded at satisfactory rates under more enforcement-focused administrations in the past.
Holder seeks to buttress his argument by citing a September 2017 census memo in which field researchers found increased fear among immigrant participants, over things like the Muslim Ban and more robust immigration enforcement efforts. According to Holder, the citizenship question would exacerbate this climate of fear, driving participation rates lower among minority and immigrant populations. Holder neglects that his conclusions are based on in the memos words small, qualitative studies unrepresentative of the population as a whole.
But for the sake of argument, lets say Holder is right, and there may be a decline in census responses in particular by immigrants, namely the illegal aliens who might have something to fear. Does their fear and the resulting potential undercount outweigh the interests of the DOJ in seeking to adequately enforce the Voting Rights Act? Do the civil rights of American citizens not trump the emotions of noncitizens? And why would any noncitizen immigrant fear responding to a citizenship question that does not ask the respondent to out himself as being here illegally?
Let us reiterate: The question the DOJ wants to reinstate is silent on the question of legal status. Would it not be useful for Mr. Holder to make his readers aware of this fact given how sinister he believes the citizenship question is?
After suggesting that the Trump administration is raising the citizenship question for cynical reasons since as Democrats stand to gain by noncitizens and presumably illegal aliens responding at high rates, and conversely Republicans may gain politically by reduced response rates Holder suggests that the Voting Rights Act can be enforced adequately based on the ACS data. Holder comfortably shrugs off the myriad statistical issues with the ACS the DOJ has identified, all to the detriment of data integrity.
The former AG further tries to discredit the Trump administration by noting that the DOJ sent its citizenship reinstatement request via the Justice Management Division, rather than the Civil Rights Division, which typically deals with voting rights. He suggests that this reflects the administrations sidestepping [of] DOJ norms.
Holder fails to note that the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ under President Obama and himself became one of the most radically progressive and corrupted parts of the entire federal bureaucracy. It continues to be inhabited by holdovers at its highest levels. The presidents appointee for assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division has yet to be confirmed. Does anyone believe the current team would be receptive to anything the Trump administration proposed? Lest we forget, a holdover acting attorney general refused to carry out an executive demand. Ironically, Holder may only have the Resistance to blame for where the citizenship question reinstatement request originated.
Lastly, Holder suggests that attacks on the census process go beyond politics they represent a major assault on representative American democracy. Leave aside the hyperbole in part over a citizenship question the federal government already asks of millions of people. Is the inclusion of the citizenship question an assault on representative American democracy, or is the opposite the case?
As Holder reiterates, the census is paramount in determining where and to whom political power and federal funds are allocated. So should noncitizens and in particular illegal aliens have disproportionate sway over such issues? If noncitizens in general and particularly illegal aliens help dictate which states have more political power, and where and to whom federal funds are redistributed, is this not an assault on representative American democracy?
Note another Holder omission here: He never once mentions that illegal or undocumented immigrants are counted in the census, a fact that might make readers (though perhaps not New Republic readers) less sympathetic to the idea that Americans should be upset if some percentage of noncitizens refuse to respond to the census.
Holder is loathe to go down the rabbit hole of asking whether illegal immigrants and noncitizens broadly should be able to dilute the political power of U.S. citizens through the census.
His argument is found wanting before we even get to this question.
The state attorneys general however do argue vigorously that all persons citizen and noncitizen, legal and illegal ought to be represented via the census based on the letter of the law. More on that in a subsequent piece.
This means I am often in a position to use shorthand methods to determine who is on what side of a given issue, and what is the conservative and/or correct side of that issue.
For example, voter fraud, voting rights, voter ID laws, and voting processes. When I examine the issue of voter fraud, voter rights/voter ID/voting processes, it is easy for me to side with the Constitution. Other related issues which may not be as clear cut since there are a hodgepodge of state voting processes, etc, I try to examine on a case by case basis, which is...a lot to look at, and I often look for shorthand evaluations to help.
A good example of this is the issue of voter fraud. When I look at this issue, I see clear facets that make 100% sense to me that help me decide. As an ancillary, I use other proxy factors. In the case of voter fraud, I can see two clear and undeniable things that will mitigate some aspects of voter fraud: Annual cleansing of the voter rolls by two means: Removing the names of people who have died, and removing the names of people who are no longer residents of a given state. Seems undeniably logical to me. Dead people can't vote, and people who are not residents of a state should be voting in another state.
As a proxy, I look at the people who are opposed to cleansing the voter rolls of dead people and people who are not residents of a state. They are overwhelmingly, and without exception, Leftists of all stripes. So when I see those same people on an issue, I take a knee-jerk reaction towards certain conclusions, and I am usually right.
In the case of this article, the question of asking citizenship on a census makes absolute and perfect sense to me, so I dismiss the arguments against it. When I see people like Eric Holder on an issue like this, I utilize a shorthand process to validate. (Basically, if he is for it, I am against it).
What are your thoughts on this particular issue, and the use of shorthand judgements in certain cases to cement a judgement?
There should be no questions on ethnicity. bammy wanted a “middle eastern” category (a proxy for “muslim”). However, it should ask about citizenship, and whether the person accepts the rights and obligations of the US Constitution. Those who reply NO, are deported the next day.
Took a little digging, but I find the question of citizenship has not been on the census since 1950, and no reason was given.
I would have guessed it was removed for 2010, reason obvious!
The purpose of the census is enumeration for establishing voter districts. This implies you would not count non-citizens.
As an extreme example, there are over 700k people in each election district. If the residents were 100% non-citizens, then these non-citizens would have their own representative in congress!
I think shortcuts are unreliable, other than trying to scrap the bs and go to the main point, as I sort of did above.
I see it as a win-win.
At the top, someplace like California may suffer with respect to representation in the House, if a lot of people don’t report in the census because they don’t want to disclose they are not a citizen.
I don’t see a downside to it.
Shorthand analysis isn’t meant to be reliable, but then, it does boil down to “Define reliable”.
I find I am occasionally wrong when I look at an advocate for some thing, and just say out of hand “If that person is all for it, it cannot be good for this country”, etc.
But I find that it is spot on for me more than 90% of the time. So, my takeaway is that I probably should pick and choose my spots a bit more carefully, and triage them appropriately to use a shorthand analysis on.
Geez. There is a surprise.
Paper ballotsOf course, if this is a federal law, it would only apply to federal elections. If a state, county, city or wide spot in the road doesn't want to control who votes, they can pay to have separate local ballots for any munchkin who wanders in on election day printed out of their own pocket.
Mandatory free on demand BIOMETRIC (iris scan, nobody ever left their irises at a crime scene!) photo ID, with a database that instantly flags for arrest anyone seeking multiple IDs. Change of name? Simply have your old card voided when you apply for the new one.
No precinct reports their totals until ALL precincts report they have totals. This prevents the last to report precinct captains from knowing how much to fudge a report to give a win to their preferred candidate while maintaining some slight semblance of credibility.
Repeal Motor Voter.
End same-day registration where it exists, and allow ample time between registration and election for vetting of credentials of registrants.
Instantly deport any non-citizen who registers to vote.
Voter ID must be renewed every 10 years, in person.
Put a little ⩍ next to the names of those registered voters with death certificates, and detain and put a 72 hour psychiatric hold anyone claiming to be a dead person...
The article says the citizenship question was on the long form (sent to 1 in 6 households) as recently as 2000.
“Final solution to the Illegal Immigration
and Voter Fraud problems”
That you. Peoples who love this country and freedom are always welcome.
Darned Otto Core Wrecked...
Good proposal. But I have issue with item 7.
Non-citizens who attempt to vote are committing an act of war against these United States and should be treated accordingly. (citizens who enable such an attack are committing treason) Either life in prison at some off shore facility (GITMO) or execution. Deporting them just lets them try again and encourages others to attack us.
We need to make the world fear us again.
We can work up to that if needed, personally, I prefer the minimum amount to force needed to accomplish a goal.
Those are great suggestions. Excellent, very well thought out. Very commonsense and do-able.
Gee. Why on earth couldn’t these type of things be talked about at a national level in a way that the government is looking out for the good of the citizenry and the sovereignty of the country?
Because the Left doesn’t have the “good of the citizenry” nor the “sovereignty of the country” first and foremost.
What they have first and foremost is their own power and ability to oppress those who don’t agree with them.
The only downside I see is that Texas may lose some census count, and thus possibly, some representation. I can live with that.
100% true. That is a risk. But to someone like you, upholding our sovereignty is more important than fealty to a political party. You get it, for sure...:)
The dead ARE ONLY AN ISSUE IF THEY VOTE.
SO ASK YOURSELF THE OBVIOUS QUESTION: HOW ARE THE DEAD VOTING?
When you answer that question you'll know how the fraud is done.
If the FBI wants to stop voter fraud they should ADD fake names to the roles - THEN GO AFTER THE PEOPLE VOTING THOSE NAMES. The same should be done will illegals on the roles. If they vote go after them for the crime of 'messing with our elections'. The FBI can pretend they're 'russians who might damage liberals' or something... but GO AFTER THEM, ARREST THEM AND LET THE COURTS DEAL WITH THE CRIME.
The dead ARE ONLY AN ISSUE IF THEY VOTE.
SO ASK YOURSELF THE OBVIOUS QUESTION: HOW ARE THE DEAD VOTING?
When you answer that question you'll know how the fraud is done.
If the FBI wants to stop voter fraud they should ADD fake names to the roles - THEN GO AFTER THE PEOPLE VOTING THOSE NAMES.
The same should be done will illegals on the roles. If they vote go after them for the crime of 'messing with our elections'. The FBI can pretend they're 'russians who might damage liberals' or something... but GO AFTER THEM, ARREST THEM AND LET THE COURTS DEAL WITH THE CRIME.
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