Democratic Attorneys General To Challenge Addition of Citizenship Question On U.S. Census

If so, they have a bone to pick with Clinton and, the 2000 U.S. Census long-form questionnaire:

I would be astonished if a federal court ruled to bar the inclusion of this question.  The Executive Branch is given considerable discretion in carrying out such surveys and a court would have to interject itself into a largely policy disagreement in the political branch to bar the question.

75 thoughts on “Democratic Attorneys General To Challenge Addition of Citizenship Question On U.S. Census”

  1. The early 20th century census pages one can easily find on have a three-column citizenship section. I don’t believe anyone was screaming bloody murder about racism for asking such questions then. In any case, it’s all voluntary.

  2. The government gathers information all the time. Even Facebook gleans our GOOGLE searches. If I look at something on Amazon, I’ll see similar ads on social media. I can’t tell you the giggles I got when I looked up all sorts of medical supplies for an abscess and thrush on one of my draft horses. Oh, the medical ads were fantastic while the algorithms tried to calculate what malady I had to match with shopping choices.

    Why wouldn’t they want to know the extent of legal and illegal immigrants? How else are we to evaluate policy, and the effects of policy?

    Now, if ever illegal immigration favored Republicans, how quickly the Democrats would change their tune.

    The reality is that there are I think 325 million people here, and around 7.4 billion in the world. We do not have the space, resources, water, or farmland for everyone in the entire world to live here. Unless we built out every square inch including all current National Parks to 100 stories high like Coruscant, we don’t have the room. In addition, our Western values are far outnumbered by the attitudes of the rest of the world for issues such as the rights of women and gays. Such freedoms would be mowed down in short order.

    So if you don’t have the room for everyone, then you have to do the math to calculate what level of population we can accommodate. That must of course include housing availability and cost, jobs, as wells the strain on our infrastructure, resources, social programs, as well as natural resources. For instance, CA is already about at capacity for the population our scarce water resources can support. The next step will be desalination and reclamation of black and gray water. We have rolling blackouts when the electricity grid cannot handle demand. Natural habitat is fragmented. Where are we to put everyone who wants to come?

    If it is agreed that we cannot take everyone, then we determine how many, and the minimum qualifications. For me, a desire to come is not enough. One must also be innocent of anything we would consider a crime here in the US. Criticizing the government of North Korea, China, or Iran would not in any way disqualify them. One would also seek a desire to assimilate into our values. Honor killing may get you a pat on the back in the Middle East, but it is not acceptable here. Nor is eating cats and dogs, sneaking into corrals and slaughtering other people’s horses for consumption (see Florida), or forcing children into arranged marriages. Speaking of horse meat consumption, the draft horse people are distraught because Chinese buyers recently bought up all the good draft horses at auctions to ship overseas to be eaten. That’s not what the breeders bred them for. Teamsters would go to auctions to get horses from breeders they knew. A lot of fine, healthy horses are gone now, and this has driven the price of stock way up. The market has been a bit weak due to the rising cost of hay, as taxes and fuel taxes went up and the economy struggled. When horsemeat buyers drove the price up, it went over the budget of many reputable buyers. I was surprised by this, as I assumed that they would buy horsemeat from the slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico (damn them), but apparently there is some desire to get the strongest horses with the most muscles. As an owner of beloved draft horses, this breaks my heart.

    Not everyone feels the same way that the average Westerner feels about many issues. There is a cultural price we pay when the rate of immigration is too great for assimilation to catch up. I would take those two brutalized young girls in Pakistan into our country in a heartbeat, but I would slam the door in the faces of their families and the council who ordered and watched the rape.

      1. Some do, some don’t. Plenty of Persian girls paint their nails, don’t wear roosari or the rain coat, wear nice clothes and makeup, and date before they are engaged. They most certainly do not want to live in Tehran where they would be harassed on the street. Of course, their parents are often those who escaped after the Shaw fell. They liked the more secular Iran and fled the return of extremism.

        Attitudes towards assimilation can depend on many factors, one of which is their reason for coming. Are they avoiding a war back home, and have no love for the West, or are they eagerly seeking Western freedoms?

  3. The concept of a census is to get an ACCURATE count of how many people live in a defined area. Even ‘if’ a faction of the citizens are undocumented immigrants, their presence in a city, county or state is still significant.

    Los Angeles, for instance, has roughly 4 million people, according to official census estimates. An accurate count of undocumented immigrants could raise that number significantly; gaging L.A.’s TRUE population. But if an effort is made to delete undocumented immigrants, from the official count, L.A.’s true population will never be reflected.

    Using the official census as a political weapon is not unlike the denial of Climate Change. ‘Denying’ the true population of a city, county or state, handicaps longterm planning. The governments of those entities cannot accurately formulate policies without accurate census counts.

    This seems to be the true motive behind these proposed census questions. The Trump Administration literally wants to handicap our biggest cities to prevent them from gaging their true populations.

    Trump supporters may think this effort will only handicap California and New York. But the effort would most certainly impact red states like Texas and Arizona. Texas, one should note, has more big cities than California.

    1. Asking about citizenship does not impair the accuracy of the enumeration. The American Community Survey produces this data every few years.

    2. But if an effort is made to delete undocumented immigrants, from the official count, L.A.’s true population will never be reflected…‘Denying’ the true population of a city, county or state, handicaps longterm planning. The governments of those entities cannot accurately formulate policies without accurate census counts.

      They already have a policy problem. If the city of Los Angeles is having trouble budgeting and long-term planning because they don’t know how many people they enable to live there illegally, then they don’t have a census problem, they have an illegal population problem. Correct that handicap and that will go a long way towards long-term planning.

        1. Thanks, glad you liked it. Not sure I would recommend the local government try to unwind their disastrous policy with another though.

    3. My mother had to fill out a long form that asked the question whether she was a U.S. Citizen. She replied truthfully NO. They did not ask her what country she was a citizen of. Law enforcement did not show up or kick down the door. So what the heck is the big deal. BTW at the time my mother was a British Subject.

    4. Peter Hill – it has been my experience that when illegal aliens know you are not ICE they are very cooperative. 🙂

  4. Bacerra is a real piece of work. Why isn’t he under investigation for giving the police a fake version of his server?

    “Now-indicted former congressional IT aide Imran Awan allegedly routed data from numerous House Democrats to a secret server. Police grew suspicious and requested a copy of the server early this year, but they were provided with an elaborate falsified image designed to hide the massive violations. The falsified image is what ultimately triggered their ban from the House network Feb. 2, according to a senior House official with direct knowledge of the investigation.

    The secret server was connected to the House Democratic Caucus, an organization chaired by then-Rep. Xavier Becerra. Police informed Becerra that the server was the subject of an investigation and requested a copy of it. Authorities considered the false image they received to be interference in a criminal investigation, the senior official said.”

    You’d think the House Dims who used the Awan bros IT services would be an anxious to find out what information was downloaded from their computers — national security issue ‘n all that.

  5. Shameful. On the Left, the usual lying, parsing and double-talk have already taken hold of the census citizenship question. As is my habit, when constitutional issues/questions arise, I consult–what else?–the Constitution. So much easier that way.

    In a nutshell, for these self-serving AG hacks out there, here is what the Constitution tells me:

    Art I Sec 2 Clause 3 of the Constitution calls for the “enumeration of the people” (except Indians) every 10 years in order to properly apportion direct taxation and representation–the ratio of reps to population today which is, roughly, 1 rep for every 800,000 citizens.

    In Federalist #16, framer/founder Alexander Hamilton defined those persons enumerated, aka counted, would be “the natural guardians of the Constitution”, that being We the People, the citizens of the US, who created the federal gov’t and Constitution, and in whom is entrusted the duty of safeguarding that Constitution. (Notes: 1. Clearly, illegal aliens,, temporary residents, visa holders and resident aliens cannot be described as “the natural guardians of the Constitution”; 2. In 1868, the 14th Amendment eliminated the only exception to this US Citizens-only rule by including 3/5 of slaves in the enumeration, a compromise crafted by the framers during the Constitutional Convention to entice the southern States to ratify the Constitution and to accede to union with the other States. Per the 14th, also included as “guardians” were Indians who were paying taxes and expressed a desire to vote. And in 1924, all Indians were included in the enumeration as citizens; 3. Very important to understand that “inhabitant”, “qualified person” and “US Citizen” are interchangeable terms in Art I Sec 2 Clause 2 and Art I Sec 3 Clause 3 when defining the qualifications for national elective office.)

    Any argument to the contrary is N-O-I-S-E.

  6. This discussion reminded me of a book I read several years ago entitled IBM and the Holocaust by Edwin Black.

    Tom Watson the founder of IBM was hired by the Hitler to design and implement various enabling technologies for managing the so called German Census.

    Once the citizens of Germany had been counted in the detailed census IBM developed enabling technologies step by step from the identification and cataloging programs of the 1930 Census IBM assisted Hitler in a massive and complex task of cross-tabulating records that were used in the 1940’s to devastating efficiencies.

    Once the Jews were identified using IBM technologies the Hitler government was able to target them for efficient asset confiscation, isolation, deportation, enslaved labor, and ultimately annihilation.

    IBM and its German subsidiary for the sake of profit custom-designed complex solutions, one by one that answered one question….How did Hitler get their [Jews] names, where the lived and what they owned?

    1. IBM (then called Hollerith) got its start with the US census. So they were also obviously involved with abuse of census data to inter Japanese-Americans on the West Coast. Memory of that atrocity is still strong. Yeah, IBM has a lot to answer for. And the US Census has a demonstrated history of abuse in exactly this area.

  7. Becerra will be hard-pressed to answer this: Should foreign tourists and business travelers be counted towards representation in Congress? Aren’t they “persons” as you’re seeking to define the word?

  8. JT said; “I would be astonished if a federal court ruled to bar the inclusion of this question. The Executive Branch is given considerable discretion in carrying out such surveys and a court would have to interject itself into a largely policy disagreement in the political branch to bar the question.”

    Get ready to be astonished. I doubt finding an extremely partisan judge willing to interject himself/herself will be hard to find.

    1. Imagine it will be brought on Ninth Circuit. Court so judicial insertion is presumed.

  9. I worked the census in 2000, my sister in 2010, in different states. We both had lots of trouble getting cooperation from people in the areas where one might find undocumented residents. Sometimes we could manage the briefest amount of information, but the long form? forget it. In some parts of those areas it was dangerous to knock on doors. We know that the census is inaccurate.

      1. In an age where the Left supports a population that can self-identify on nearly anything they desire, what prevents anyone from just making $hit up?

  10. Is Puerto Rico being counted in the U.S. Census? They seem to be under-represented by the federal government as the 14th Amendment requires.

    1. Puerto Rico is a dependency, not a state. It is due no Congressional representation.

      1. The dependency relationship was reversed in the shortage of medical supplies for sick U.S. patients. They were dependent on production in Puerto Rico.

  11. What was the original purpose for the census? Wasn’t it to identify only the raw population count for representation in Congress and the allocation of federal funds? The census has been transformed into a weapon used by the political class to do what the politicians are supposed to already know…what are my district’s demographics? What is important to them? How can I best serve them? Instead, census data is collected so that the politicians know what pen their sheep are in. Then they tailor a campaign message for each pen.

    So how do you transform a culture? Nudge them into a pen so that they are easier to control.

    1. The Census hasn’t been limited to a simple demographic tabulation since 1840. Sorry collecting social data upsets you. You’ll get over it.

      1. The Census hasn’t been limited to a simple demographic tabulation since 1840.

        So the census exceeds it’s constitutional purpose? Of course it’s just a coincidence our government has as well. Get over it? Not a chance.

        1. You forgot to review Wm. Voegli’s recitation of the political controversies of the 1790s and you forgot that Davy Crocket homily. It’s just an outrage that the federal government fancies it can constitutionally build roads and not merely designate them.

        2. Olly,
          I got sent the long form and refused to fill it out. It got to the point were they showed up every day. We just wouldn’t answer the door. Finally, the lady decided to trespass on my property and caught me in my back yard along with my GSD. I stated that she already knew how many people lived here since it is a matter of record (town wise and tax wise) and that her job was just to spend tax money on something not required. She tried to tell me that they don’t have access to that information which is such b.s. She then tried to threaten me with fines but I told her she had no power to do that. Then they started calling with more threats. I recited the law that they had no rights and they would hang up. Coincidentally, that year was the only year that I have ever been audited by the IRS.

      2. Your mental discipline is truly astounding. You passed over a fine opportunity to use the word cohorts. Very impressive.

  12. The last time I checked, the Census was a federal issue, even though the states see benefits from the results of the Census.

    Lately, it appears that every issue at the federal level seems that it has to get a special blessing from the state of California and their political class. And California’s officials have made it their mission to try to enforce their values upon the rest of the nation through the courts within their state and the district and circuit courts that include their state.

    Several years ago, when Arizona attempted to compel their officials to follow federal immigration law, the state of California intervened with an amicus brief to say that the states had to follow federal law. Now that California is on the other side, they want to do whatever they can to not follow federal law in areas that federal law exists.

    I guess it all comes to whose ox is getting gored.

  13. The other objection raised, and not mentioned here on the blog, is on gender. The male or female question offends many. I think the question should be present time: Do you have a dong or not?

  14. I propose the short form census question should be:

    Are you :
    ____ a U.S. citizen
    ____ a U.S. non-citizen resident
    ____ a U.S. non-citizen visitor

  15. If the attorneys general were to challenge the constitutionality of allowing the U.S. Census to mission-creep – to add immigration status – why not use it for a gun registry also? Why not use it to obtain other personal and private information?

    In constitutional lawsuits, “constitutional injury or harm” (or legal standing in court) is somewhat different than most court cases. In constitutional cases “injury or harm”, to establish legal standing as a plaintiff in court, also means a “violation” of the constitutional rule of law (that restrains government authority). It may seem harmless to other people not affected by the constitutional violation.

    For example: if anyone on this blog were censored, searched or tampered with for their legal Freedom of Speech exercise – any of us could sue that government official or agency for “First Amendment injury”. If a citizen were penalized by the police for legal gun possession, that citizen could sue the police department for “Second Amendment injury”.

    An attorney general or citizen-plaintiff could possibly claim “Fourth Amendment injury” or “Fourteenth Amendment injury” in order to establish legal standing in a constitutional lawsuit on the U.S. Census mission-creep. Harm and injury, required to initiate a constitutional lawsuit against government officials (or their contractors) usually depends on where you stand.

    Conservatives may consider infringing on their legal gun rights as “Second Amendment injury” to their constitutional rights, while non-gun owners may consider it simply a frivolous lawsuit. Progressives may consider mission-creep of the U.S. Census, to be used as a search tool, as “Fourth Amendment injury” to immigrants (or those that look like immigrants), while those that look “legal” may consider it a frivolous lawsuit. It all depends on what constitutional rights you value.

    1. The integrity of voting is a fundamental right for Americans. Chief Justice Roberts’ made a statement that makes it clear he understands that his party threatens that right through gerrymandering. He knows that because Republican politicians have said it. Now we will watch SCOTUS in the Maryland gerrymandering case just as we will watch the justices in the Janus case where 17 of the 19 amicus briefs are linked to Koch groups.
      One of the worst and most dangerous men who lived in America in the past 70 years was Paul Weyrich, architect of the religious right, founder of ALEC and the Heritage Foundation, whose plotting can be found in the Weyrich training manual posted at Theocracy Watch.

      1. Thanks for the MadCow talking points. It’s been an education.

          1. Meet us all halfway and say something that isn’t a concatenation of lies and distortions.

            1. This from the right wing conspiracists, grifter evangelicals, barely high school Hannity and “falsehoods are necessary” conservatives?

    2. The Legal Tender Cases, Tex.1870; 12 Wall., U.S., 457, 536, 20 L.Ed. 287. In 1901, a District Court said the Constitution’s census clause (Art. 1, Sec. 2, Clause 3) is not limited to a headcount of the population and “does not prohibit the gathering of other statistics, if ‘necessary and proper,’ for the intelligent exercise of other powers enumerated in the constitution, and in such case there could be no objection to acquiring this information.

      The 2nd Amendment guarantees a citizen’s rights to keep and bear arms. There are no constitutional powers enumerated in the constitution which justify the government acquiring information about a individual’s firearms. Just the opposite could be argued, that such information could be used by the government to infringe upon constitutionally protected rights. However, article 1, section 8 does empower Congress to establish a uniform rule of naturalization; in other words, citizenship. Such laws must apply uniformly and cannot be modified by the states. That the federal government has a vested interest in determining the citizenship status of those present in this country seems rather undeniable.

      Of course, we all know the real reason for the objection to inquiries about citizenship status. Some state and local governments, as well as individuals of a particular political affiliation, seek to usurp federal control over immigration law and impose their own naturalization process. It serves their own individual and political interests to do so.

  16. I’m perplexed. First we are told we don’t know how many aliens (using DNC terminology here) are in America because they are all hiding in the shadows. Then we are quoted numbers that suggest we in fact do know how many are here. Seems logical to me that we use the census to figure this out.

    Oh wait, the DNC needs those aliens to win elections since they have fewer and fewer American citizens in their constituency.

  17. The challenge, however, is not to the constitutionality of the question itself, but that having the question on the form will cause persons who are not citizens to not respond to the form at all, thereby causing states with large non-citizen populations to lose federal benefits.

    Interesting position for “sanctuary” states to take. “We will not cooperate with the federal government when it comes to enforcing laws, but we will cooperate with the federal government giving us money.”

  18. When I did the census it was every tenth household that got the long-form. California’s problem is they are going to have more registered voters than citizens. 😉

  19. The “long form” is only given to a small sampling of the population and by definition has questions not included in the regular form. The predictable result of including the question will be an undercount of minorities and immigrants who have reason to be fearful of this administration. The excuse that they are protecting “Voting Rights” is laughable given all this administration is doing to restrict voting rights. The goal is to shift resources from certain states and districts to others. Those that agree with the goal will wholeheartedly support the policy.

    1. enigmainblackcom

      Every issue has partisan backers and opponents, so by all means make a political argument one way or another.

      But you completely ignore the issue of legality – this question has been legal in the past, why not now?

      You also ignore the issue of right and wrong. This is our country and we want to know how many American citizens there are and how many illegals there are.

      We have heard the number 11 million to describe the number of illegals in the U.S.; none of know if that number is right. Let’s find out.

      The question will also remind people that we are Americans and that there is a clear distinction between an American and an illegal immigrant.

      1. The purpose of the census is to measure the population so that resources can be properly allocated. The purpose of the question is to arrive at a different result and a different allocation. I don’t mind trying to determine who is here. Just do it differently.
        Also, the question, as far as I know, has only been given to a sampling of people in the past. I’d be curious as to how the information was used then. This question was not tested as was every other question on the survey. It will be determined in court whether or not it is legal, unfortunately, our courts, including and especially the Supreme Court have become as partisan as our politicians.

        1. The actual constitutional purpose of the census is to measure the population so that representatives in the House of Representative can be apportioned among the states. Everything else is window dressing, and allocation of resources to states and localities by Washington is not enumerated in the Constitutional as a federal power and therefore, strictly speaking, unconstitutional.

          1. You’re referring to that part of the Constitution that counted “free persons” as a whole, denied Indians not taxed and slaves as 3/5th’s as a person?

    2. The “minority” in question is majority criminals and almost all noncitizens. They shouldn’t be counted since the number of representatives is based on the count. The Dems AGs protest is tacit admission they can’t win with citizen votes and have to import their voters, which renders them the party of nonAmerican criminals. It’s unlawful to dilute citizen votes by counting illegals and one wonders why any citizen would support this unless, of course, they value party over country which means they value power over everything. The Dems are fast becoming an antagonist to America. We’ll see how that plays out come election time.

      1. Michael Moore had a show several years ago called “The Awful Truth” where he exposed how some Conservative officials were gaming the U.S. Census. Moore did an episode of a small Virginia town that was running a scam on the U.S. Census – an unindicted federal crime (never criminaly prosecuted to best of my knowledge).

        This small Virginia town had a very small population but was reporting to the U.S. Census Bureau that it had a larger population. The town, which was predominantly white, had a prison located in it with thousands of inmates that were predominently African-American.

        Why this matters: In states like Virginia, there is some arcane state rule that localities can’t “annex” the surrounding suburbs (apparently it’s not even a real statute but a common law legal precedent). This means that a wealthy suburban county, less than 10 miles from the city limits of large cities, receives a disproportionately large share of tax revenues and consumer dollars than it’s closest large city.

        Citizens live and spend their money in the suburbs while benefiting from the proximatey of the large city less than 10 miles away. If that same suburb were physically relocated more than 100 miles away from a large city, it would be a poor county. It’s only wealthy due to it’s proximity to the large city.

        The under funded inner-cities have substandard schools, lack of resources and is largely African-American. Those conditions create a prison factory and high crime rates in those zipcodes. If the U.S, Census were functioning properly, the poor inner-city zipcodes should be receiving the additional “representation” in Congress and state legislatures for those prisoners, NOT the small town where the prison is located. In this scheme, it only benefits the small town, the prison industry and does nothing to reduce America’s status as the world’s top jailer.

        Virginia has an excellent attorney general today, maybe he will start prosecuting officials that game the U.S. Census.

          1. I was a huge fan of Michael Moore until I found out how he edited everything to push his dishonest view.

        1. The GOP exploits. Their mindset drives them to take profit from workers, rather they are undocumented or citizens. The vulnerable are the easiest target so, they start there and then move up the food chain.
          Trump’s first commutation of a prison sentence was to an Iowa business owner and Republican campaign donor who had 400 workers from Central America, in his plant. Two birds with one stone, reward a donor and convey the message, exploitation will go on as usual.

        2. AZ – Thanks for posting – I will check out that show. I enjoy Moore’s stuff mostly – his style is “mockumentary” – like Morgan Spurlock of “Super Size Me” and “30 Days” fame. Unlike documentaries they insert themselves into the process and definitely put forth their POVs.

          I just wish Moore were more even-handed and not so partisan.

        3. You have made yet another good case why Washington should get itself out of the business of allocating resources to states and localities, and return to executing its constitutionally enumerated powers.

    3. I guess voting rights are in the eyes of the speaker.

      What voting rights are this administration restricting?

      One requirement for being able to vote in elections is citizenship. There is evidence that non-citizens are voting in some elections where they are not supposed to be voting. When non-citizens vote, that restricts the rights of the citizens who do vote, by illegally reducing their participation in the election.

      The allowing of only citizens to vote is not a political issue; it was part of the rules before there were political parties. To allow non-citizens the right to vote in elections is a one-sided political issue: It is a single-sided attempt to violate the law. And there appears to be one political party that has made it a goal to allow non-citizens the right to vote.

      The status-quo is apolitical; it is the established law. Trying to change the law is political.

      1. The sole party implementing Jim Crow era voter suppression and gerrymandering is the party of Roy Moore.

        1. There is no voter suppression and gerrymandering has been practiced by every political party who ever controlled a state legislature.

      2. What is your evidence of non-citizens voting and how many people have been documented? Don’t rely on the figures you hear in right-wing media.
        It would be unfair of me to characterize Republicans as the only party to try to keep citizens from voting, particularly minorities because Democrats have done their share of dirt in the past. If you are serious about wanting to know what Republicans have done to suppress votes of citizens. Google “Voter Suppression North Carolina” or Texas, or Florida and see what steps they’ve taken to remove people from rolls or limit voting hours or require ID and then limit access to obtaining the ID. I have found that if I provide the information, people tend to dismiss it out of hand. If they discover it themselves it gets more credibility.

  20. Is this person a

    In a program for Citizenship
    A tourist
    A green card worker.
    Undocumented illegal.

    Imagine trying to untagle the gobbledegook when you have yet to learn the language.. Imagine what if the government was required to use intelligible American Standard English?

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