Should the standard US census survey include a citizenship question?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Rogifan, Apr 1, 2018.

  1. Rogifan macrumors Core

    Rogifan

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2011
    #1
    Pro:
    https://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybe...s-n2465561?amp=true&__twitter_impression=true

    Con:
    https://fivethirtyeight.com/feature...response-rates/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

    It seems that the argument basically comes down to congressional representation and apportionment of federal dollars to states/localities. Most on the Right think representation should be based on citizenship, the Left thinks it should be based on anyone in the country, legal or not. I honestly can go either way on this but know many on the Right slammed the American Community Survey (for good reason) and said the only thing they would answer is how many people were living at the address the survey was sent to as that’s all that’s constitutionally required. One question I have is what happened if you don’t answer the citizenship question? Are you just not counted in the census or are there more penalties? I received the American Community Survey once and the census bureau says you can be fined $5,000 if you don’t fully complete it.
     
  2. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #2
    If states like California werent openly enticing illegals to jump the border to bloat their representation I wouldn't think it would be as big a deal. Right now they are fighting sheriffs in their state to release illegal violent criminals into the streets, so they've already played their hand.

    Why should a state get more representation across the country for these actions?
     
  3. BeeGood macrumors 68000

    BeeGood

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2013
    Location:
    Lot 23E. Somewhere in Georgia.
    #3
    IMHO, this is a tough question to answer regardless of how one feels about immigration.

    I could go either way as well, but my first impulse is to say no, it shouldn’t be included. My reasoning is that it would do more harm than good in this current political climate. People here illegallly simply won’t answer it, and if you make them, they’ll simply lie or avoid filling it out. All of these possibilities will lead to an inaccurate census.

    Disproportionate representation based on people living here illegally is a problem, but I think it needs to be fixed some other way.
     
  4. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    Well put.
     
  5. Rogifan thread starter macrumors Core

    Rogifan

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2011
    #5
    In the last election Republicans won 49% of the popular vote but took 51.2% of house seats. Democrats won 48% of the popular vote but took only 45.5% of house seats.
     
  6. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    #6
    Numerically speaking, that could have something to do with how House seats are apportioned to states.

    Basically, every state gets at least 1 seat, regardless of its population. This accounts for 50 seats. Since there are a restricted number of seats (the count doesn't grow with population) that means there will always be "rounding errors" in the apportionment of the remaining 385 seats. Those errors can have a substantial effect on the relationship between population (effectively the popular vote) and representation in the House. Couple that with the fact that the least populous states tend to be more rural, and more conservative, the disparity isn't necessarily a Great Right-Wing Conspiracy.

    That said, the disparity could also be partly explained by other factors where a Great Conspiracy might play a role. Any state with 2 or more House reps has to partition the state into districts. That's a process that can result in gerrymandering. And because those partitions tend to be stable until a seat is added or removed, it's a fairly long-lived way to skew voting results.
     
  7. SoggyCheese Suspended

    SoggyCheese

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2016
    Location:
    Barcelona, España o Londres, Reino Unido
    #7
    Blah blah blah Breitbart inspired nonsense blah blah blah.
     
  8. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #8
    We don't get Breitbart up here, but I did see a California AG threaten a sheriff with arrest for publishing a list of violent illegals they were going to be releasing into the public. Got to protect those illegals and all.
     
  9. Gutwrench Contributor

    Gutwrench

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    #9
    Since illegal aliens cannot vote, they should not be included in the reapportionment base.

    Assume two states have exactly the same population. One state has thousands of illegal aliens and are included in the reapportionment base. The other state has no illegal aliens. The result is this creates an inequality of voting power. The first state has greater power and representation than the second state.

    The Supreme Court prohibits the drawing of voting districts based on such inequality differences. Including illegal aliens in the census directly violates this concept.
     
  10. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    #10
    Citizen children can't vote, but they're counted.

    Adult legal aliens can't vote, but they're counted because the census is used for more than just House seat apportionment.

    The clause in the Constitution about how to count for the census doesn't list citizenship as a requirement. So legally speaking, there may be a latent Constitutional challenge lurking there.


    Imagine two states have exactly the same population. One has thousands more children than the other, i.e. families are significantly larger. The children are counted, but they don't vote, only their adult parents do. So the parents are effectively using the number of children as a way to gain and wield unequal voting power.

    I present that mainly as a hypothetical argument about using whether someone can vote as the criterion for being counted, and whether the resulting imbalance falls under a strict interpretation of the Constitutional criteria.

    As a public policy argument, it could be framed as parents looking out for their childrens' welfare, so of course they'd vote in that direction, and they should have representation accordingly. But that's heading back into the realm of how representation is apportioned, and how that apportionment has numerical constraints that don't always align with public policy arguments.
     
  11. alex2792 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2009
    #11
    If the information is used to draw up voting districts then obviously yes, since non citizens can’t vote (at least not legally).
     
  12. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #12
    Women couldn’t vote when the constitution was written. Yet they counted. As did free blacks.
     
  13. RichardMZhlubb Contributor

    RichardMZhlubb

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2010
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #13
    The idea of defenders of the Electoral College beefing about an “inequality in voting power” is beyond absurd. If we exclude undocumented immigrants, estimates are that California might lose 1 to 2 Congressional seats, which means that California residents would go from having about 25 percent of the voting representation in Congress and in the Electoral College as a resident of a little state like Wyoming to about 23 percent. Tell me again about your concerns about inequality.
     
  14. 0007776 Suspended

    0007776

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2006
    Location:
    Somewhere
    #14
    Perhaps the right would be content with resurrecting the 3/5ths compromise for this situation.
     
  15. Huntn macrumors P6

    Huntn

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Location:
    The Misty Mountains
    #15
    So some of you people think a citizenship question on a census survey will get you a better outcome politics wise?
     
  16. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #16
    And 3/5 of enslaved blacks.

    The constitution was deliberately written to include non-voting population in the census. Therefore, in order to confirm to the actual wording of the constitution, we have to count everyone, including illegal aliens. Now, the constitution doesn't say we can't ask about citizenship status. But knowingly including a question that is likely to lead to an undercount feels very dodgy to me.

    How do European countries do this? I know in Japan there's no need for a periodic census, because everyone gets added to the National Registry at birth, and if you want to vote somewhere other than the locale where you were originally registered, you go to the register's office and file a form to move your registry. So government always has demographic information of all citizens. No fuss over how to best count the population every ten years.
     
  17. Herdfan macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2011
    #17
    I think in some ways it could put the dems at a disadvantage, especially in places like CA. So CA might pick up and
    Not following the Wyoming part, but I can say this. If illegals are counted in CA, which then gives CA 1 or 2 more seats, then in a state that is on the cusp population wise to gain a seat, then those citizens are losing out on more representation. That is not fair to that state's citizens.
     
  18. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #18
    According to Google, population of Wyoming is 579,000. They get 2 Senators and 1 member in the House, and 3 votes in the Electoral College.

    Population of California is 39.54 million. I'm too tired at the moment to calculate how many votes we need to give California to make it proportional to what Wyoming has. But I don't think Wyoming gets to complain about California having more votes because of ilegal aliens. Even if half of California's population was illegal aliens, Wyoming is still waaaay over represented.
     
  19. JayMysterio macrumors 6502

    JayMysterio

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Location:
    Rock Ridge, California
    #19
    Once again, while the actual issue maybe important, context is as well. For whatever patriotic reasons people want to point out, why is there a sudden need for this NOW?! Not having the question didn't bother anyone for the last near 7 decades. Suddenly 45 wants to help an attorney general on voting rights who can barely say 'voting rights act' without a sneer of sheer disgust. This looks more like someone aware that there's an increasingly large portion of possible voters who aren't that thrilled with the current administration.
     
  20. 0007776 Suspended

    0007776

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2006
    Location:
    Somewhere
    #20
    That may be part of it. But I would be willing to bet that for the majority of the people who support this it is because they want to make Democrats mad rather than thinking through any specific reasons for the policy.
     
  21. JayMysterio macrumors 6502

    JayMysterio

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    Location:
    Rock Ridge, California
    #21
    Those people we've learned to deal with over the last decade. It's the people who intentionally want to enact this for short term gain, and don't give a crap about the long term consequences.

    There's something literally throat gaggingly disgusting about Jeff Sessions trying to pretend he gives a rat's rear end about voter's right. Or the voting rights of certain citizens at least.
     
  22. Rhonindk macrumors 68040

    Rhonindk

    #22
    If the illegal immigrant issue wasn’t currently here, this would be far less of an issue.
    Especially living in Ca, I feel this would give a much better accurate outcome than not having it, even with some answering incorrectly.
     
  23. juanm, Apr 2, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2018

    juanm macrumors 65816

    juanm

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    Location:
    Fury 161
    #23
    The idea behind a census is to know the real state of population, not to get the numbers you want to get.
     
  24. Gutwrench, Apr 2, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2018

    Gutwrench Contributor

    Gutwrench

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    #24
    The Constitutional basis for conducting the decennial census of population is to reapportion the U.S. House of Representatives. Illegal aliens (1) have no legal standing (2) are not voters (3) counting them creates an inequality of voting power by devaluing the vote of legal authorized residents and citizens.
     
  25. someoldguy macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2009
    Location:
    usa
    #25
    Article 1 says nothing about being a citizen in order to be counted ...

    " Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three. "
     

Share This Page