The alarm has been sounded that Trump’s census apparatchiks are planning to include a citizenship question in the short form that will be used to generate the full count in 2020. This count, mandated by the constitution and conducted every ten years, is the basis for voting district apportionment and formulas for allocating government services. Since the first census was taken in 1790 the government has enumerated all residents, citizens or not, and it hasn’t asked about legal status in decades. It’s not difficult to foresee that such a question would lead to a substantial undercount of Hispanics, especially in the current climate of immigration hysteria. That’s almost certainly the intent of the Trump plan, not an oversight.
Fortunately, there’s a way to fight this scheme through direct action: massive nonparticipation unless the question is withdrawn. Refusing to take part in the census is theoretically illegal, but since millions of residents fail to return their form by mail, prosecution is a rare event. The mail response rate for the 2010 census was about 76%, which means almost a quarter of the potential recipients didn’t make life easy for the Census Bureau. For them to be counted, enumerators had to knock on their doors and complete the process in person. These home visits are the biggest expense the Bureau faces to do its job.
Noncooperation could take one of two forms. The least demanding would be a massive refusal to respond by mail. If nonresponse could be increased by even just another 10-20% it could substantially increase the cost and decrease the reliability of the entire operation. Or, if they could stick together, noncooperators could refuse altogether—although I suspect a few highly publicized prosecutions and giant fines would cause a break in the ranks. (What would happen if crowds blocked enumerators’ access to houses the way eviction agents have been blocked during foreclosure protests?)
The rationale behind direct action would be simple: count us all or not at all. There’s even an obvious name for a steering group to organize the action, Common Census. Unless there was a plan to reimburse activists slapped with fines, it would take only a little funding to support the necessary publicity, and the demand that there be no question asking about citizenship is unambiguous. I see no reason why “count us in or count me out” wouldn’t be a fight we could win.
This is a very bad counterproductive idea. If it were implemented by any significant fraction of the populace, it would happen primarily in areas with large numbers of liberals, thereby exacerbating the structural representation bias (toward reaction) that is built into both the constitution and the dichotomy between rural and urban voters.
Yes, an undercount can’t possibly help Democrats/progressives.
The supreme court has long ago ruled that all residents, legal and otherwise must be counted in the census.
I presume (perhaps optimistically) that the present admin’s effect to tally citizenship in the next census would immediately result in a law suit escalated to the Supreme court if necessary on the basis that it would force an undercount of residents, especially in the western states, and thus illegally affect apportionment.
Unless Session’s can prove otherwise I’m pretty sure even conservative Judges will rule that the admin can’t tally citizenship status since it will reduce counts of residents in states with higher proportions of illegals. I would be terribly surprised otherwise
It has long been the objective of conservatives to omit non-citizens from the census counts.
If Session’s were to succeed in his quest to tally non-citizens counts assumedly only if the conservatives on the Supreme Court bench ditched all prior rulings and legal precedence and made up new law, it would dramatically alter the entire basis for federal apportionment, income distribution, federal taxes re-apportioned to States, etc.
I’m pretty sure this degree of change would not escape Judge’s attention and thus they would either
a) not accept the case if all district courts ruled against the administration’s efforts, or
b) rule against Session’s effort if the district courts were split…. the most likely possibility.
But you can bet this will come up again in the 2030 and 2040 census’s if the administration is still in conservative hands by then.
The decadal census usually takes place between April and end of September (idealized in June/July) so is a fait accompli by the 2020 November. election. So if Session wins his way there will be a dramatic change in apportionment and law for the next decade at least.
Questions on the Census have changed and /or been added over time depending on what was considered important at any given point. It also wouldn’t be the first time that the Census asked questions pertaining to citizenship if it were to happen. For example, according to the Census Bureau itself, among the questions asked of each household in 1820 was this;
I don’t know what year they stopped asking about citizenship but (without going through a bunch of old records) I am going to guess they started using “foreign born” instead.
I do know that the Census Bureau does a lot of surveys, beyond the decennial Census, including the American Community Survey which includes this on the main page of its website:
So it isn’t as if collecting information about citizenship is a new thing for the Census. That same page, for what its worth, shows a graph of the percentage of the US population going back to 1850.
Why would this particular question be expected to depress participation? It isn’t as if not asking the question will turn a non-citizen into a citizen by some inexplicable means. We answer plenty of questions a lot dumber than this one.
Perhaps, this particular president has a huge interest in deporting as many aliens as possible? With answering those questions, a person has supplied the means to increase the efficiency of the deportation process by identifying citizenship and address. It is an admission which can be used in court. At no other time has this been as important as it is now with this particular president and political party targeting immigrants.
No. The purpose of the question is to intimidate non-citizens into evading the census.
Well, I spent a hour or so a day once a month participating in one these census programs. Income, this that the other thing. A real total pita.
And having lived in Phoenix for 15 years, I can state very plainly that no illegal immigrant is going to talk to these people for one second. Not a chance.
And that was before trump.
Well, Bearistas, my assumption going in was that even the credible threat of widespread obstruction would be enough to forestall a Trumpcation of the census population. But if you think we need to get partisan about it, simply make the threat operable only in districts that went Republican in the last election. Reduce *their* numbers.
Democrats are famous for being trusting. The few Republicans who were questioning the ACA, the Tax Reform bill and other things giving the impression they would fall in with the Democrats; eventually, they fell in with the rest in support of the party line. Collins was lied to by McConnell and what did she do? She voted with the rest of the Repubs. Its party over country Peter. The head liar in the Oval Office can not even keep the same lie. He changes it time after time.
If illegal aliens or undocumented people (whichever your preferred term) are less likely to fill out Census forms, that reduces, among other things, revenue flow from the Feds to areas where many such individuals reside.
But it seems that that the same people are also less likely to pay income taxes. In part this is because they are disproportionately likely to get paid in cash, or to use the social security numbers of others who have a different citizenship or immigration status, or to simply ignore the requirements to pay those taxes because some percentage of them live in the shadows and are hard to track. In any case, that also means reduced Federal revenues, but to all states. It also means less state income taxes, etc., so this effect would likely be disproportionate and more likely affect jurisdictions with larger share of individuals whose status is illegal/undocumented.
If illegal aliens / undocumented people are less likely to comply with either the Census or the paying of income taxes, what is the difference between supporting non-compliance with the Census and supporting non-compliance with any income taxes? (I sense a lot of people on the right would get behind that, pretty much regardless of the reason.)
Illegal aliens are not eligible for welfare benefits. Anything associated with welfare and determined by a census would not count. I suspect they are not counted towards that benefit anyway. Before a certain amount, people do not pay income tax. If the total annual amount is less than that amount, the taxes will not be collected by the employer.
Another possible action is to just leave the answer blank. This is not refusing to fill out a census form and would be harder to prosecute and harder to justify resources for collecting a single answer.
yes. It still draws attention.
I was talking about the degree to which undocumented people pay taxes. That is a completely different thing.
“If illegal aliens or undocumented people (whichever your preferred term) are less likely to fill out Census forms, that reduces, among other things, revenue flow from the Feds to areas where many such individuals reside.”
And I was addressing this. These funds are also determined by a census report too. The census report determines quite a few things every 10 years including House Reps per state.
Operates outside the realm of the Census
The historical point of a Census to determine what human capital is available for taxation and for military purposes, and to get an idea what benefits the state has to be prepared to provide to keep the populace compliant to the goals of whoever is in charge. Call that last one “representation” of a sort.
But if a large group doesn’t pay income taxes, and doesn’t collect any benefits from the state, in essence that group operates outside of the realm of the Census already. That’s not an argument for continuing what we are doing. It is a statement that we aren’t doing a state the right way, of that a Census no longer has anything resembling its original purpose.
The proposal in this main post doesn’t seem intended to “fix” a problem, unless the perceived problem is that the state shows even a small degree of interest in having control over who comes and goes. But if you eliminate that,, do you still have a state?
You have a BS sentence then.
I answered your sentence and you are off on a tangent now. We are not talking about the main post, we are talking about your comment. By law, everyone who receives a census questionnaire must answer it. It does not matter if they are outside of the realm of the census, they still have to answer it. If the President threatens them and you add a sentence to the census asking their status in the US which gives the president the ability to find them, why would you now expect them to answer that question or do the census questionaire? They have nothing to lose either way.
Mr. Kimel responds with a completely spurious and inapplicable statement about Census “citizenship” questions:
” It also wouldn’t be the first time that the Census asked questions pertaining to citizenship if it were to happen. For example, according to the Census Bureau itself, among the questions asked of each household in 1820 was this; Number of foreigners not naturalized.”
In 1820 there were no western states. The only state west of the Mississippi was Louisiana (1812), The Louisiana Territory was populated with Spanish, French, and American Natives so even in the then “Territories” the only non-naturalized residents were the standard variety of Europeans anyway and the Native Americans, who were neither citizens nor eligible for citizenship, naturalized or by any other method..
More-over at the time the US had no restrictions on non-citizen residents in the then constituted States. No “darkie” was a citizen even in the free States nor were they then eligible for US citizenship.
West of the Louisiana Territory was part of Spain until 1824 when it became Mexico, and the North West corner of the western region was British.
Even when the U.S. forcibly took over Mexican land (Treaty ending the conflict in 1848) north of the Rio-Grand and west to the Pacific, it didn’t try to expel or remove Mexicans from the land & property they owned owned or worked on, or business’s they owned or prevent any others from migrating into the western U.S.
So the Kimel response has nothing to do with asking citizenship status on present day Census’s. It’s another of Mr. Kimel’s many efforts misdirect.
IRS instructions inclde:
I don’t have the time to look but if memory serves one also has to declare bribes received and the value of property one steals on one’s taxes.
A google search leads here: https://taxfoundation.org/its-true-you-must-report-income-thievery-your-tax-form
I am always leery of the tax foundation but this bit makes a good point about self incrimination.
And FWIW I cannot imagine it’s hard for a Federal agency to identify if someone is a citizen. There is a difference between ability and interest in doing so which may or may not change.
The US Census forms from 1820 to 1940 included a question about citizenship. After 1940 the question was only asked of those completing a long form.
After 1850 the US Census forms asked about the value of your property and your birthplace. This was still included on the 1940 census
From 1880 to 1930 the US Census forms also asked for the birthplace of your parents.
By law the completed census forms are kept private for 72 years. So we will not get access to the 1950 census until 1922.
“By law, the Census Bureau cannot share respondents’ answers with anyone, — not the IRS, not the FBI, not the CIA, and not with any other government agency.”
Illegal immigrants will avoid the census taker completely. Other immigrants have nothing to fear.
This is a lot of nothing.