The Chillicothe Gazette carried an Guest Column by Tom Purcell with the above title. It is one of several articles and columns they’ve published with two things in common. I’ll take on each in separate blogs.
First, the column mentions the fact that “The population count determines the number of U.S. House seats each state will have.” This column adds “That’s why census results are so important to politicians.” But they aren’t just important to politicians, they are important to voters too!
The referenced column and recent articles have gotten around to describing a recent controversy. That controversy centers around whether the census should have a citizenship question. Here is why it should matter to all legal residents. Without a citizenship question the distribution of the 435 U. S. House of Representatives is made based on each state’s overall percentage of the countries census count. (The one exception is the fact that all states are guaranteed at least one representative.)
So why does it matter whether the count is based all people counted with no indication of whether they are legal residents or whether that question is included. It’s simple and logical! If those who are here illegally are counted and used in determining the number of representatives a state has, it gives states the incentive to attracted illegals and protect illegals from deportation. In short, it gives states an incentive to set up “sanctuary cities and zones” and to ignore federal law. Those that do will likely be rewarded with more representation in Congress while those that don’t will lose representation.
It is easy to set up a model to demonstrate this. Imagine a country with just two states and 4 “Representatives”. Imagine both states have 100 legal residents. Each state would be allotted two representatives and the legal residents in each state would be equally represented. There would be 1 representative for each 50 legal resident. Residents would be equally represented regardless of which state they lived in.
Now let’s look at an (overstated) case for the purpose of seeing the impact of including illegals when apportioning representation in the House. Let’s say one state has 200 illegals and the other state has none. Suddenly one state is awarded 3 representatives and the other state only 1. In the state with 3 representatives there is 1 representative for every 33 legal residents and in the other state the representation ratio is 1 representative for every 100 legal residents. Does it make sense that the legal residents of one state should have three times the representation than the other? Not in a Representative Democracy! Including illegals in a census may make sense for determining many things, but not for determining how many representatives each state gets. It doesn’t ensure legal residents in the various states equal representation in their government. And it actually gives representation to individuals who are here in violation of our laws.
Now we’re told that those who oppose including illegals in the count by which representation is determine are just Republicans who are wanting to increase there political power. But in my example we don’t know the political party preference of the voters in either state. But we do know that the legal residents in the state with more illegal residents are rewarded and the ones with fewer is penalized.
While my example is highly exaggerated for demonstration purposes, it is possible in the real world that illegal residents do have an impact. Take California and Ohio for example. In 1996 Ohio had 19 representatives and California had 52. California has encouraged illegal immigration and has many sanctuary cities. Ohio has far fewer illegal residents as a percentage of its overall population. In 2019 Ohio has only 16 representatives and California has 53.
It is well understood that California has a much higher percentage of its population that are in the United States illegally than Ohio does. Is it fair to the legal residents of Ohio that California is rewarded for that fact? Ohio may be a fairly consistent “Red State”. But there are “Blue States” that are being impacted too.
So having a citizenship question and only using the number of legal citizens for apportioning the 435 members of the U. S. House to states is important to maintaining “equal representation” for legal citizens of our Representative Democracy. I’m not sure why that’s not obvious to more people?