The Trump Administration’s ‘Contrived’ Citizenship Question

Justices last week confronted the White House’s false justification for its illegal and racist motive in trying to add the question, writes Marjorie Cohn.

U.S. Supreme Court building. (Joe Ravi, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

By Marjorie Cohn
Truthout

In a surprise decision, Chief Justice John Roberts, joined by the four liberal members of the Supreme Court — Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor — halted the Trump administration’s plans, at least temporarily, to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

The High Court thought the stated motive for adding the question seemed “contrived,” and sent the case, Department of Commerce v. New York, back to the federal district court to review whether the government can come up with a legally acceptable rationale for adding the citizenship question.

After oral arguments in April, it appeared the justices were poised to allow the Trump administration to add this question to the census: “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” That question would deter households with undocumented residents from responding to the census.

The Census Department estimated that 6.5 million people could be uncounted if the question was added. This is significant because the census is used to determine the number of seats each state gets in the House of Representatives, the number of Electoral College votes each state will have in the presidential elections starting in 2024, and how $900 billion in annual federal funds will be distributed to the states for health care, hospitals, schools and infrastructure for the next decade.
The plaintiffs in this case — a coalition of states, counties and cities — are claiming that the addition of the question is unconstitutional.

Evidence of Cover-up

On May 30, the high court received newly discovered evidence of a cover-up of an illegal racist motive for adding the citizenship question.

Thomas Hofeller was a Republican strategist and architect of the citizenship question strategy. After he died in 2018, Hofeller’s daughter found documents revealing that he urged the question be added to the census because it would “be a disadvantage to the Democrats” and “advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites” in redistricting.

Hotelier: “Advantages for whites.”  (YouTube) 

Roberts and the four liberal justices found that the reason Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross gave for adding the question to the census “seems to have been contrived.” Ross testified before Congress that the sole reason he and the Department of Justice sought to add the question was to better enforce the Voting Rights Act.

“[W]e share the District Court’s conviction that the decision to reinstate a citizenship question cannot be adequately explained in terms of DOJ’s request for improved citizenship data to better enforce the VRA,” Roberts wrote. “Altogether, the evidence tells a story that does not match the explanation the Secretary gave for his decision.”

Ross: Gave Congress “contrived” evidence. (Gage Skidmore via Flickr)

Breyer noted in his concurrence, “[T]he consequences of mistakes in the census count, of even a few hundred thousand, are grave. Differences of a few thousand people, as between one State and another, can mean a loss or gain of a congressional seat—a matter of great consequence to a State…. And similar small differences can make a large difference to the allocation of federal funds among competing state programs.”

Trump called the Court’s decision “totally ridiculous,” tweeting that he asked his lawyers to “delay the Census, no matter how long, until the United States Supreme Court is given additional information from which it can make a final and decisive decision on this very critical matter.”

Although it is theoretically possible the question could still be added in time for the 2020 census, it is highly unlikely, given the July 1 printing deadline.

Last week, the Justice Department told the Court that the deadline could be extended to Oct. 31. But The New York Times quoted experts as saying, “the printing work is so vast — more than a billion pieces of paper — and such a logistical tangle that the bureau’s ability to put off its start is measured in weeks, not months.”

A former senior bureau official told the Times, “You’d really be putting the operational plan at great risk if this stretches into mid-August. You may not have a census at all in 2020.”

Different, Pending Case

Judge Hazel will hear a different case. (Twitter)

Meanwhile, a different case pending before U.S. District Judge George Hazel in Maryland could block the inclusion of the citizenship question in the census. On June 25, in light of the new Hofeller evidence, a panel of the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals sent a case back to Hazel to decide if there was discriminatory intent behind the citizenship question and thus a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. One of the panel judges suggested that Hazel issue an injunction to stop the question from being included in the census until the case was resolved. This is a different issue from the one in Department of Commerce v. New York.

The opinion by Roberts and the liberal justices is significant as it confronts the Trump administration’s false justification for adding the citizenship question. As Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted, “Trump lied about his motivations, and five justices called him on it. His proposal to add a citizenship question to the census was nothing but a racist attempt to disenfranchise communities of color.”

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and a member of the advisory board of Veterans for Peace. Her most recent book is Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues.”

This article is from Truthout and is reprinted with permission.

46 comments for “The Trump Administration’s ‘Contrived’ Citizenship Question

  1. ACP45
    July 8, 2019 at 08:05

    I have read that the Obama administration was the first to not include a question on citizenship, naturalization, or nativity in almost 200 years. https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-07-07/trumps-citizenship-question-isnt-controversial-obama-deleting-it-shouldve-been

    So, as the article points out, shouldn’t the real question be why did the Obama administration eliminate this piece of information from the 2010 in the first place, and why wasn’t there a political outcry at the time?

    Point One – The Government at every level needs accurate figures for budgeting, not just aid programs, schools, police, emergency services, water, electricity, everything the public expects from the city, county, state.

    Point Two – The Legeslative branch of Government does not do it’s job to adequately prevent illegal immigration, and the Judicial system’s activist judges prevent the Executive branch from fulfilling it’s obligation to protect the interests of it’s citizens.

    Why should various states be given tax revenue to support services for people who are not citizens of the country, and are here illegally?

  2. Don K
    July 5, 2019 at 11:47

    Contrived? Contrived is using non-citizens to gain Congressional seats.
    Why should non-citizens count, when tallying Congressional districts? Citizens should count, because only citizens should vote. The states I have lived in have lost Congressional representation over this issue. If those non-citizens are too cowardly to fill out a census form, then tell them to fill it out anyway. Just don’t lie about citizenship.

  3. Brian James
    July 5, 2019 at 09:53

    Jul 4, 2019 Democrats Now Actively Assisting Illegal Immigration, Campaign In Mexico

    Cory Booker accompanied illegal immigrants into the US recently. The story is a bit complicated, the women had previously been sent back to Mexico under the Migration Protection Policy and according to the Washington Examiner were seeking to bypass the law to gain entry to the US.

    https://youtu.be/N2gUi_j8QcQ

  4. dean 1000
    July 4, 2019 at 15:52

    The republican citizenship question is contrived to increase Republican control of the federal government. It is a Gerrymander. The Democratic Party prefers the current population gerrymander. If there was a republican bill in congress to significantly increase House membership constitutionally in response to house seats lost to the question, it wouldn’t be a gerrymander. Democrats don’t want a constitutional increase in house membership or they would have done it when Obama was elected. The democrats will lose more votes on immigration than they have lost on gun control.

    The republican operative quoted as saying that the citizenship question would be an ‘advantage for whites’ was hallucinating. I’m white. A republican government will not be an advantage for me or anyone I know. Most Americans know it won’t be an advantage.

    The citizenship question was not on the 1800 census. It is possible that some of the Barbary pirates or other pirates who came ashore for fresh water and R & R got counted.
    If the contemporary census bureau is willing to count non-citizens and illegal aliens to increase the apportioned population would they not have also counted the German POWs incarcerated in the US if a census had been conducted during WWII?

    The number of people Article 1(3) of the constitution wants counted are the People referenced in the preamble – the people (of) the US rather than people merely in the US to see the Grand Canyon, get a job, attend classes, or spy for a foreign government or corporation. Yes the slaves got counted also. That provision is the most despicable part of the constitution. By the 1850’s the slave owners ( not the southern states) had 25 more house seats than they should have had. But that tragic mistake doesn’t justify counting non-citizens & those who came in illegally.

    This immigration SNAFU cum FUBAR is brought to you by the two party system. A viable 3rd party would have sided with one or the other party and a sort of permanent majority would exist on immigration for several decades or more. I prefer a near moratorium on immigration. Not more than 15,000 – 20,000 immigrants a year.

    There should be a citizenship question on both the long and short census forms of every census.

    The printing deadline is contrived. If government can’t print forms w/the citizenship question in time, it doesn’t want to.

  5. Marnie
    July 3, 2019 at 16:16

    I’m with Trump on this one.
    Seems government has a basic fundamental need to know who and where citizens reside.
    Has anyone else noticed that prior to 2016, both Obama and Bill Clinton shared trumps position on immigration ( except the wall)?

  6. July 3, 2019 at 10:26

    American exceptionalism with Donald Trump. It’s the Fourth of July but upside down. Everything stupid is “smart” and white nationalism is “patriotism.” Raise the flag and let’s see who salutes it!

    https://osociety.org/2019/07/01/trump-is-the-perverse-personification-of-american-exceptionalism/

  7. LJ
    July 2, 2019 at 17:24

    I’m the real thing. A native Californian.., NORCAL before it got marketed. Places that I frequented, where cool people like me (?) might go when I was young, where I never heard a foreign language spoken, places I frequented until let’s say the age of 35 , now if it’s not inaccessible, private property and all that, you can’t hear the English language spoken. I don’t really care at this point. I hablo with Pablo. I’m a laid back Californian like the 1,000,000 or so dirty, worthless Digger Indians that were wiped out in previous centuries that use to live in this place. The sands of time , right? No matter? Or would that be Intellectual Relativism? Do any of you remember that famous , well placed graffiti in Berkeley, “The Bomb has dropped and we’re all mutants”?
    Point is , this is a problem, We the People since Reagan, The Immigration and Reform Act, are the first modern nation that did not resist invasion of our own borders. Let’s just be glad how much our property values have increased especially since the , now called, Lehman Brothers Crisis. Right? It;s all good. Rome , England , previous Empires let it happen as well . It’s in the job description. .” The barbarization of the ruling classes”, was the way one of those writers, post Gibbon, laid blame for the fall of the Roman Empire . That was then , this is now…., I can’t decide if I should vote for Tulsi or Harris? Let the best woman win. They will make it all so much better. And no more talk about this kind of crap and and we will have lots of nurses who have recently emigrated to change our bed linens and wipe the drool off our mouths as we await those last gasping breathes, that is if we aren’t euthanized first.

    • old geezer
      July 3, 2019 at 10:24

      but we have such a better variety of restaurants now !

  8. DW Bartoo
    July 2, 2019 at 13:51

    More U$ Census history.

    In 1950 (a year some will recognize as the beginning of the so-called “McCarthy Era), the Census asked where each person was born and, “If foreign born” – is he naturalized?”

    In 1970, the Long Form, sent to 1 in 6 households, asked questions about citizenship.

    Again, in 2000, the Long Form, sent to 1 in 6 households, asked, “Is this person a citizen of the United States?”

    After 1950, the Short Form never asked questions about citizenship.

  9. Stan
    July 2, 2019 at 12:40

    Build the wall.

  10. rosemerry
    July 2, 2019 at 12:39

    It seems from the comments that there is a HUUUGE lot of ignorance among US citizens, or residents, even among CN readers. I am not “an American” as USans arrogantly call themselves as if the rest of the two continents did not exist, but I understood a census to count everyone in the country, or state, regardless of age, race, sex or reason for being present.

  11. DW Bartoo
    July 2, 2019 at 12:39

    The very first U$ Census was conducted in 1790.

    It asked six questions.

    1. The name of the free white make householder.

    2. The names of free white males aged 16 or older.

    3. The names of free white males under 16 years of age.

    4. The names of free white females.

    5. The names of all other free persons.

    6. The names of all slaves (each to be counted as 3/5 of a person.

    (Native peoples were not counted until 1870.)

    Over the ensuing years, some 319, why has the question of “citizenship” not before been asked?

    That is most curious.

    Well, obviously, for a while, certainly during the time my ancestors, all dull Northern European, came here, beginning in 1626 until about 1850, newcomers were welcome, even encouraged to come, with a few exceptions, just as obviously.

    Indeed, until the 1930s, the U$, generally welcomed “white” folk from many regions.

    (I have often wondered why, when Jewish human beings were being harmed [and we did know what was going on, as did the German people, lit was quite open, newspapers were filled with accounts in Germany], it was that the U$ did not offer to take all of them, children, women, men?)

    Now, of course, even though the birth rate is dropping AMONG white couples, leading to other frights in certain places, as birth rates of those of “other colors”, citizens and non, in the U$ are rising, we see, not just in the U$ but in the EU a hostility toward immigrants even though very many of those emigrating to the EU are refugees of wars waged by the U$ and certain members OF the EU.

    Again, nuance is fled and no one asks a rather obvious question.

    Now, as it happens, and this will gall, it turns out that very many who would emigrate TO the U$ are refugees of ECONOMIC war waged on their nations BY (wait for it) U$ Corporate “interests”, with a long and bloody history of U$ military involvement with other regions of Vespucciland (obviously WE are Mer-ka, so they cannot also be “Americans”), which again practically begs that a certain question be asked, again and again, until it is answered. I invite you to imagine how that question might, ought, should be worded and at whom or what it might, ought, should be directed.

    • rosemerry
      July 2, 2019 at 12:41

      Excellent thought-provoking comment!!!

    • Skip Scott
      July 2, 2019 at 14:39

      I think for a very long time it was just taken for granted that if you were a (white) resident, you were a citizen. I certainly don’t fear illegal immigrants co-opting our elections nearly as much as I resent the culling of any candidate that might actually do some good during the primary process, the near complete elimination of third party possibilities, or the orchestration of our MSM to libel and slander anyone who may negatively effect their owners’ profit margins.

      This entire issue is a classic red herring, and similar to RussiaGate in its aim to distract our attention from the real “meddlers” in our elections.

    • DW Bartoo
      July 2, 2019 at 16:34

      I agree with you on every point, Skip Scott.

      DW

    • July 6, 2019 at 15:30

      Because the Citizenship question has been on it–it was taken off by Obama in 2010– I just saw an actual 2,000 Census form and it is on it…so you might want to get a clue before pontificating at length? Just saying….

  12. Bill Mack
    July 2, 2019 at 12:19

    The ignorance of most of the above posters is something unusual for the Consortium that I used to follow.

    • matt
      July 2, 2019 at 13:25

      I’m new, so I can’t speak to the old Consortium. But I find this forum to be one of the best- with a diversity of views and highly informed comments (for the most part). It’s a rare middle ground where people from all sides of the political spectrum are heard. Which parts do you find disagreeable in the discussion?

    • Skip Scott
      July 2, 2019 at 14:23

      Perhaps you remember a time when people presented evidence-based, rational arguments rather than ad-hominem attacks?

  13. Brian James
    July 2, 2019 at 11:43

    If they truly understood what that means they would *all* turn around and run!

    14th Amendment Citizenship: Citizen = SLAVE

    Prior to the alleged ratification of the 14th Amendment, there was no legal definition of a “citizen of the United States”, as everyone had primary citizenship in one of the several states. The Constitution referred to the sovereign state citizen, and no one else. Those who went to Washington, D.C. or outside the several states were commonly called “citizens of the United States.” In the Constitution for the United States, the term was used to identify state citizens who were eligible under the suffrage laws to hold office, and they were required under the Constitution to have primary allegiance to one of the several states.

    http://youtu.be/y4xV4MTnCdc

  14. DW Bartoo
    July 2, 2019 at 11:28

    The wages of U$ citizens can only be impacted by immigrants if those wages are made precarious by a political-economic system that permits monied interests, be they employers or organs of government, the Federal Reserve, in our case, to depress wages to the benefit of employers or to throttle employment levels to “prevent inflation”,

    The reason U$ wages have been stagnant for almost forty years is “off-shoring” of manufacturing prowess and Fed policies.

    Jobs were “off-shored”, with little or no pushback, that corporations might benefit. And they did, they now OWN the political, judicial, and media systems.

    The reason that educated workers cannot find jobs that reflect their education and pay decent wages is the result of policies that protect wealth and property and mistreat people, for fun and profit. It is not because immigrants have taken jobs away.

    For many years, stoop-labor jobs were only performed by itinerant laborers, often but not always, immigrants, because most U$ citizens would not do that work.

    To place blame on immigrants instead of on corporate abandonment and federal monetary policy protecting wealth rather than citizens, is less than useful.

    It is to overlook actual cause and to embrace a diversion.

    Yes, borders are important.

    But they must constrain more than just people. The economic security of nations is at risk from global financialization.

    Look at the EU.

    Immigrants may be blamed.

    But Brussels forced austerity on the member nations, aided and abetted by the IMF and the World Bank.

    Look to the Big Banks.

    Their behavior had real devastating consequence for workers, yet they paid no price for the jobs lost or the homes forfeit to greed and fraud.

    Has that all been forgotten?

    Did borders limit the harm?

    Borders constrained none of the fraud, limited none of the harm.

    In a word, “capitalism”.

    The system which permits the crimes, which crippled economies and places the many in debt slavery.

    We are all, immigrant and citizen alike, at the mercy of oligarchies backed by military might.

    Borders mean nothing to either.

    Just ponder the last forty years.

    Who is behind the wars, the fraud, the corruption?

    Immigrants?

    Think harder.

    • Lucius Patrick
      July 3, 2019 at 00:52

      The influx/importation of low wage workers (people desperate, willing to accept just about any wage) is a major factor on blue collar workers’ wages and the rest of the economy (everyone else gets inexpensive gardening, construction, etc). That is why we blue collar workers love Trump. I propose hiring as many qualified illegals as possible for teaching positions throughout the land–currently the teachers, typically liberal, will come running with signs “Build the Wall.” Until their own pocket books are threatened, they are too happy patting themselves on the backs regarding their humanity and their big hearts. Build the Wall.

    • DW Bartoo
      July 3, 2019 at 07:41

      Why stop at “teachers”, Lucius Patrick?

      I think you find that teachers, whatever their political “persuasion”, are not very well paid, much overworked and, often paying for school supplies for their students, children of the working classes, out of their own meager salaries.

      Why not bring in “replacements” for truly “protected” professions?

      Doctors, Dentists, Lawyers, Stock Brokers, Bankers, and corporate CEOs, all benefit from the neoliberal/neocon economy
      of austerity capitalism.

      I am curious what nationalities of immigrants you find yourself in competition with?

      I spent many years in construction and we’ll recall that when Russia was being savaged by boys and girls from the “B School” (Harvard Business), creating an Oligarh’s Heaven after Bill Clinton interfered in Russian elections saving Yeltsin’s bacon and impoverishing the Russian many that Russian crews would seek employment in many Eastern U$ cities.

      Many of the immmigrants from the “other Americas”, likewise were displaced from economies savaged by U$ corporate exploitation.

      In other words, it may be that workers of the world will have to unite that the “race to the bottom”, the corporate lust for the the lowest-paid, most exploitable workers, does not end up with all workers, those who actually can do and can build things are not simply, when the ” technology” is “perfected”, replaced with robots and AI,

      Your real oppressors are not other employees, but the most highly paid “bosses” and the elite who control government and economic policies, those who never face real, actual, “competition”.

      Think about it.

      Don’t buy the lies that pit you against others exploited as viciously as yourself, don’t blame those one the same sinking raft you are on, look at the yachts and battle cruisers, perhaps even notice the submarines. They are not there to protect you. Their job is to protect money and property.

    • Skip Scott
      July 4, 2019 at 06:46

      As a merchant seaman I was in a “protected” industry due to the Jones Act that requires US flag ships be used for certain routes. The logic is that we need the “skill set” as a part of our “national security”. John McCain was very much against the Jones Act, and was quoted as saying that he favored competition over protectionism. As an Arizona citizen I wrote him a letter and suggested that we expand foreign competition to our Senators as well. I told him I thought I could get better representation at a cheaper price if Senators faced foreign competition. I never got a reply.

    • July 6, 2019 at 15:35

      The Teachers as “oppressed” thing is overplayed, they get paid as well as many others situated in various fields but they know how to cry loudly and use children for their ends–too many of them push their own political views on captive children in class and most all of those views are Leftist if not fully Communist in nature…people who can do flee the “Public” School system, that’s the true commentary on its worth these days–just a brainwashing system that turns out Leftist illiterates at 18….

  15. matt
    July 2, 2019 at 11:06

    What makes one person “citizen” and another “alien” is completely arbitrary. It is based on the false perception that NATION STATES are REAL. Nation Sates are only claims on land enforceable through violence. They are social constructs, every changing with war, conquest, discovery, and technology. Look at the rise and fall of nations throughout history. Nations come and they go. Borders change.

    Hear this. Using a national identity such as ‘American’ to divide groups of HUMAN BEINGS based on geographical location, and then lower the status and treatment of that group to sub-human is no justification. It is just another rationalization for discrimination, violence and cruelty by one group of people at the expense of another.

    It is no more justified for the ‘American” to discriminate against the ‘South American’ than these other historical examples that we now find culturally abhorrent: White People/Black People; German People/Jewish People; Catholic People/Protestant People; Strait People/Gay People; Wealthy People/Poor People; Colonizing People/Indigenous People… the list could go on and on…

    The fact is, wearing an ‘American’ cloak gives us more power and privilege than any other group of people in the world today. With that we have a responsibility to develop equitable, humane relationships with all those within our boarders AND those outside our boarders. Immigration reform, worker visas, dreamer path to citizenship, fair cross-boarder trade, boarder policing reform, and economic diplomacy (vs exploitation) are the actions necessary to move forward with any shred of American idealism and dignity.

  16. DW Bartoo
    July 2, 2019 at 10:48

    Once upon a time, a very long ago, there was a planet.

    There were more than one planet.

    Since they are not important to this story, we will just forget them.

    We will forget, or ignore a lot of things in this story, they are irrelevant and immateria.

    This planet owned a star.

    Call it a sun thing.

    (The planet went around the sun thing)

    It also owned a moon.

    The moon went around the planet which we will call Earth, which has a nice, down-to-earth sound to it. Don’t you agree?

    Imagine one of those time-lapse movies of a flower sprouting from the earth, growing tall, sprouting leaves and buds, and bursting into bloom.

    That is how this tale will unfold.

    For a long time, not much happened.

    The sun shined.

    The moon went round and round, the earth, it’s gravitational pull stirring the seas beneath it.

    Life began, inconspicuously, in the primordial, moon-stirred stew.

    Than there were dinosaurs, and a little furry rat-like creature, our distant ancestor.

    Ancestor of all mammals on the land, and even if those that went back to the sea, whales and porpoises.

    The dinosaurs left.

    The shrew remained.

    Time passed, evolution occurred …

    Lots of evolution occurred …

    (Who knows, it might still be going on.)

    Humans came not from monkeys, but were merely apes among other apes.

    The ancestors of all human species, not just our own, lived in a place we now call “Africa”.

    It is likely that their skins were black.

    (We do not know whether “religion” or “property” was invented first, or whether the inventions coincided. It does not matter.)

    “Property” was invented. The idea that things and places could be “owned”, a revolutionary idea, it changed human relations with, and towards, earth, and among people.

    Then “religion” was invented.

    For this story, only one matters.

    Then there was Yer-up.

    Ships were invented.

    Yer-up-pee-ins sailed away and “discovered” the “new world”.

    The head of the only religion that mattered, which we will designate with this symbol, X , divided this “new world” so that two countries would not squabble, childishly, over it.

    Thus was the “new world” divvied up.
    Land, people, things and “resources”,
    things that had “value” were returned to the “homelands”.

    The people were not treated very well.

    Since the people were considered “primitive” and “savage” and a certain book indicated that they were fit only to be slaves, how they were treated did not matter.

    Did I mention that the yer-up-pee-ins had “superior” weaponry?

    No?

    Well, remember that concept.

    There arose other yer-up-pee-in nations which challenged the two.

    Yer-up-pee-in nations would raise hell with each other and everybody else for quite a while.

    Mer-ka came into being, beat een-glysh ass, and became the sole super power.

    That took a little time.

    Other “stuff” happened. Lots of folks died, other shit happened and we arrive at today.

    Borders, now, keep people out (or in) while money goes where it pleases.

    Borders were invented even before “property”, it was a tribal thing.

    “Superior weapons” hold the world in thrall, and violence trumps reason.

    People with very strange names look
    down their noses at people whose nations are seen merely as oil option derivatives or repositories of other “commodities” ripe for plunder and extraction.

    As you may readily see, we have left out a lot.

    Mostly people.

    And, they had better stay out.

    The aim and intent is to keep things simple. Nuance and complexity are a pain in the butt.

    We do not care what the facts are.

    We will never apologize for controlling as much as we can.

    If we have turned other nations into shitholes or slave markets, it is our right of might to do so.

    You betcha!

    We are riding high on the hog and have no intention of getting down, off our high horse.

    “Capitalism” is about counting heads (capits) and money.

    It is about favoring the “right crowd” (and no crowding).

    As that great prophet and seer, George Carlin observed, “It’s a Big Club, and YOU ain’t in it!”

    Now, some hold the “undesirables” to be the riff-raff, the poor and exploited.

    My prejudice compels me to consider that the pathologically dangerous are at the other end of the “spectrum”, they like to think of themselves as the “Ee-leeeet”.
    A recent “great” Decider referred to them as being “ass-toot”.

    Certainly, we need to know all about everyone else. After all, if ya ain’t got nuthin to hide, then why should ya object to tellin everything about yerself?

    Remember, you are under constant surveillance 24/7, anyhow, for your own protection and security, naturally.

    So it only makes census to comply.

    Love it or leave it!

    Reverting back to the story:

    I wonder why the original inhabitants of mer-ka (which is only a portion of the much larger land mass named after a certain Amerigo Vespucci) did not consider my ancestors, as many got here long before that Brit ass-kicking, did not take a similar approach?

    Oh yes, “superior weapons” and disease.

    But yeah. We conquered them.

    So?

    Tough.

    We won, You lost. Suck it up.

    Isn’t that a stupid tale?

    Keep out people but let the money flow to tax havens with ease, let it come and go, just as it please.

    Now, ain’t that smart?

    Looks like the future might really be a blast.

    Happy Independence Day!

  17. Drew Hunkins
    July 2, 2019 at 10:10

    This issue — illegal and legal immigration — has come to a head!

    Either the Democratic Party addresses it humanely and fairly, with the thoughts of rank and file U.S. citizen workers in the front of the line — or they’re through. Every single one of them standing on that debate stage last week telling the nation (and world) that they’d give Medicare for All to illegal immigrants was unsettling. The proper answer: “We FIRST must make darn sure every single U.S. born citizen worker has Medicare for All, period. Only after that do we then look to see how we can perhaps help out the underdogs from the rest of the world arriving in our country…”

    There’s absolutely nothing morally or ethically wrong with strong and secure borders to protect the domestic (U.S. citizens) workers from having their wages undercut. The great labor leader Cesar Chavez was totally against unfettered illegal immigration and the reactionary Chamber of Commerce (of course a group that’s never done one positive thing for working people) is 100% pro open borders. This should tell us something.

    Now, having acknowledged the above, it always needs to be understood that these fine folks who are dubbed “illegals” are often fleeing Washington induced misery that was doled out to them by the oligarchic and militaristic imperialists. A staunch anti-war, anti-foreign meddling, anti-“NAFTA” stance is seriously in order and goes hand in hand when working out this vexing issue. Addressing illegal (and legal) immigration needs to tackled in a holistic manner with justice for native born U.S. citizen-workers paramount while the beleaguered Third World masses are shown compassion.

  18. AnneR
    July 2, 2019 at 09:58

    Personally, as a US citizen I do not want to have to answer such a question. It is quite irrelevant to the reason for the census: enumerating the number of people in a given location within a state and the country as a whole. And frankly there is more than sufficient surveillance already.

    It is interesting to me that among the earlier commenters none seem overly concerned about the unequal Senatorial representation among the states. That is (and it was quite deliberate, so as to give slave states equal power – back when senators were *not* elected by the enfranchised populace – with non-slave states) that rural states with generally deeply conservative, and small populations would have as many (two) senators as less conservative, more heavily populated states. That a state with a population as great as that of say California has only as much voice as the state of Wyoming, is, to my mind, a profoundly *unequal* situation. And it is nothing that the census, willy nilly of any question regarding citizenship, will address.

    • DW Bartoo
      July 2, 2019 at 14:07

      Superb comment, AnneR.

      Your comments always are.

      And very much appreciated, is your knowledge of Brit and U$ politics, among so many other perspectives that value life and human beings.

      DW

    • July 6, 2019 at 15:41

      I understand it is used as the method to determine how many members of Congress an area gets– that should be based on “Citizens” not illegal aliens–to base it on counting illegal aliens as the Dems want explains their fondness for all those illegal aliens in California…so be honest which some Dems have actually blurted out as to this “controversy”–it’s about power….

  19. July 2, 2019 at 09:05

    Precisely wrong. The constitution is perfectly clear. The sole purpose of the census is to count voters. Voters are citizens. Therefore the sole QUESTION that needs to be in the census is citizenship. Everything else is tacked-on and secondary. If the census can’t ask about citizenship, it shouldn’t exist.

    • DW Bartoo
      July 2, 2019 at 11:33

      You will recall that slaves were counted as 3/5 of a “person”, polistra.

      The count was NOT of voters but of “residents” to determine the number of “Representatives” a state would have in Congress.

    • DW Bartoo
      July 2, 2019 at 11:40

      Bear in mind, as well, that for a very long time, most citizens could not vote, only white, land-owning males had that “privilege”.

    • Matt
      July 2, 2019 at 11:36

      Non-citizens are PEOPLE (aka HUMAN BEINGS)! Like it or not, no nation state in the history of the world has ever been “PURE.” If you believe that is an attainable goal you should read Mein Kampf and fire up the ovens. Every developed country has the issue of “illegal” immigration, because conditions in some areas of the world are unlivable.

      For reasons to numerous to list, it is vitally important that the Census accurately count the actual number of people. This will cease to be the case if the citizen question goes on… because, with the aggressive turn of ICE, eroding privacy, and surveillance abuse it is only one step from rounding up the “swine” and loading them onto the cattle cars. If you lived in fear every day of your life as a non-citizen, you would understand.

  20. July 2, 2019 at 09:01

    This is a stunner. I hope our very intelligent commenters weigh in. Anxious what they have to say.

  21. Rohit Parikh
    July 2, 2019 at 08:19

    We are allowed to ask about the race of people and THAt isn’t racist but asking about citizenship is racist even though there are millions of citizens who are not white? I do not get it.

  22. Rohit Parikh
    July 2, 2019 at 08:17

    I don’t see why it is racist to ask if someone is a citizen any more than it is sexist to ask their gender.

  23. disillusionist
    July 2, 2019 at 00:18

    Fess up Wilber. Have you been talking to that horse again?
    Trump should have hired Mr. Ed for Sec. of Commerce. He does not discriminate.

  24. Monte George Jr
    July 1, 2019 at 23:58

    It’s a mystery to me why a state with 5 million citizens and 1 million illegal aliens should have more representation in the house than a state with 5 million citizens and no illegal aliens. Seems to me that representation in our government should be restricted to US citizens! If you are not a US citizen (or Native American), you are a guest here and this is not your country! Hopefully these non-citizens are not also being allowed to vote??

    • michael
      July 2, 2019 at 06:36

      Julian Castro and the Democrats are pushing for decriminalization of illegal aliens avoiding border control (which hardly makes them “guests”.) America has over 400,000 citizens in jails for misdemeanors, maybe those should be decriminalized as well? While ALL incarcerated people should be treated with some level of dignity (they are over 2 million most in jail for crimes that the Rich wouldn’t serve a day. (Read up on self-styled Clinton Foundation founder Jeffrey Epstein’s “jailing”.) At present illegal aliens have more rights than incarcerated US citizens and their children taken away to foster care. The Republicans’ donors want these illegals for cheap exploitable labor and to keep American citizens’ wages down. The Democrats want them for THEIR donors as well for the same exploitation, plus for the increased power from the Census Apportionment of US House Representatives (and who would interpret the Constitution as giving Voting Representation to non-citizens? Even Puerto Rico CITIZENS have no voting Representatives!) Since the House is capped at 435 members those 20+ million illegal aliens (based on the Yale PLOS One study) will have more Representatives than all but three states, and states with only citizens will lose Representatives: https://cis.org/Testimony/Impact-NonCitizens-Congressional-Apportionment

    • Lucius Patrick
      July 3, 2019 at 01:11

      That was a money shot. Citizens are losing rights, while the illegals get more than we do. Reminds me of Hillary and Obama arming half of Africa with large caliber rifles and then asking us to get rid of our guns–are they out of their f’n minds?

    • old geezer
      July 2, 2019 at 10:38

      my i humbly suggest you become familiar with the technique called vote harvesting. it was used very effectively in southern ca last election.

      in ca, when you get a drivers license you are, by law, automatically registered to vote. illegal aliens are now allowed to obtain drivers licenses in ca.

      to think this is random is to , take your pick of descriptors.

    • July 6, 2019 at 15:43

      It’s Voter Fraud–and it’s how Dems expect to win all future elections.

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