Poll: Should The US Census Ask A Question About Citizenship Status?

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May Day March (Wiki Commons)

May Day March (Wiki Commons)

The Trump administration has announced that it will be re-adding a question about citizenship status on the United States census questionnaire.

If you are unfamiliar with the census, it is a survey that has been conducted every ten years and has its origins in the US Constitution.

Article 1 allows that the number of representatives that each state is given in the House of Representatives be determined by the population of each state. In other words, the more people your state has, the more representatives you get.

The census became an issue during the days when slavery was still allowed because slave owners wanted to count their slaves as a part of the census questionnaire.

This would pose a problem for abolitionists as a larger population in the south would give the South more representatives in Congress and, thus, more power in the federal government.

It was during this point in time that the 3/5 compromise was devised and each slave was counted as 3/5 of a person. Just a little fun fact that you might not know about the origins of the 3/5 clause (Article I, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution) is that it was not created to diminish the value of a slave by counting each slave as being equal to less than one person but was instead created to prevent the southern slave states from garnering more power and influence in Washington.

In any event, the answers given to the US Census are meant to remain confidential, and are legally only able to be revealed publicly after 72 years have passed since the census was taken. Although the census comes with a guarantee of confidentiality that spans decades, it has been known to have been breached. In two of the most well-known instances of this happening, it occurred when a Democrat was in the White House.

The Woodrow Wilson administration violated the Census Bureaus promise of confidentiality to target draft dodgers and FDR’s administration used Census Bureau data to help unconstitutionally round up Japanese-Americans during World War II.

Today, there is an argument about whether or not to include a question in the census on citizenship.

Those who are against the question will argue that it disenfranchises those who are not in the country legally and causes fear and unrest in illegal immigrant communities. An illegal immigrant might feel afraid when asked if they are a

Those who are in favor of the question will maintain that illegal immigrants should not have a say in how the country is run or how many representatives each district is allotted.

To put illegal immigration in another way, imagine if someone broke into your house and decided to live on your living room couch. They just want a better life for themselves, and they noticed that the lifestyle that you have is better than the one that they have.

They may or may not have stolen the identity of one of your children in order to avoid detection, and they benefit from the many amenities that you provide to your family. You can kick them out of the house, but they will just come back in because your spouse says that it is racist for you to lock your front door.

The home intruder does work, but none of that money goes towards the running of the household. Instead, they ship that money back to the place where they used to live. With some flaws, this is basically a summary of what is going on in the United States with illegal immigration.

The question is, should people who are illegally living in the United States be indirectly allowed to have a say in how the United States is run by granting their states more representation in Congress?


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