Six Reasons Democrats Oppose the Citizenship Question
June 27, 2019. The Supreme Court voted 5-4 to deny the Trump Administration’s request to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. According to Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion, the request was denied, stating the Trump Administration must “offer genuine justifications for important decisions, reasons that can be scrutinized by courts and the public interest.”He did leave the door open for Wilbur Ross and the Commerce Department to appeal the decision, but due to the late ruling, there was not enough time for the department to meet their self-imposed deadline to get it on the census. President Trump decided not to appeal but asked Attorney General William Barr and the DOJ to come up with a legal work-around.
While President Trump’s motivation behind reinstating the citizenship question has been argued by pundits on both sides of the aisle, the main reason goes back to the 2016 campaign when Trump claimed that millions of people who did not have the right to vote had actually voted. Early indications showed he was correct in that there were a number of irregularities, including non-citizens voting, individuals casting ballots twice or out of their district, and voter rolls that had more registered voters than voting aged people living in the district. The claim that there were millions may have been simply a case of hyperbole, or it may have been a legitimate belief that the extent was that great.
In May 2017, President Trump created the Presidential Advisory Committee on Election Integrity with Kris Kobach as the vice-chair to address voter fraud. Push back was strong, especially from traditionally blue states. The objections raised centered around the “chilling effect” it would have on minority communities. California Attorney General, Alex Padilla, fired off a letter with the claim “The President's appointment of Kobach–who has a long history of sponsoring discriminatory, anti-immigrant policies including voter suppression and racial profiling laws–sends a clear and ominous message. His role as vice chair is proof that the ultimate goal of the commission is to enact policies that will result in the disenfranchisement of American citizens.”
The ACLU and other organizations successfully sued to have the Advisory Committee disbanded; thereby forcing the Trump Administration to search for a new way to overhaul the outdated voting databases and prevent it from being abused. The Department of Justice tried to reinstate the citizenship question in an attempt to address the flawed system after the courts rejected its efforts to get voter data directly from the states. The left, once again, resisted the DOJ, meeting its latest attempt to prevent election fraud with accusations of racism and a wave of judicial challenges.
This begs the question. Why does the left oppose the citizenship question so vigorously, notwithstanding the reasons they give? There are six underlying motives that explain their resistance.
Trump was correct. The most direct answer is that there is widespread voter fraud which disproportionately helps the Democrats. The number may not be in the millions, but when elections are won by a majority of thousands, or even less at the local level where future national politicians are groomed, it does not take much fraud to swing the balance of power. With the left’s push to allow non-citizens, including illegals, to vote in local elections, the opportunity for abuse is great. It is, therefore, against the Democrats’ interest to have their states’ voter records audited by outside, independent organizations.
The number of illegals living in the United States is wildly undercounted. It is interesting to note that the historical census question regarding citizenship status simply asks whether or not the respondent is a citizen, not about the legal status of their residency. This does not stop the left from knowing, correctly so, that the government as well as the average citizen will have a more accurate count of illegal residents living in the United States. In 2015, the Department of Homeland Security estimated there were 12 million illegals residing in country from information obtained from the American Community Survey and the U.S. Census Bureau. The Pew Research Center estimated the number at 10.7 million in 2016. This is roughly the same number that has been bandied about for the last fifteen years. But with the huge influx of immigrants coming across the porous southern border, it is hard to fathom that the number hasn’t changed since the Bush Administration. A study led by Dr. Mohammad Fazel Zarandi at Yale University shows that the number of illegals residing in the U.S. is closer to 23 million and may be as high as 29 million. Other studies place the number between 20 and 38 million. Recently, illegal immigration has become a hot button issue among swing voters, and the Democrats do not want them knowing the true number of illegal aliens living here as recent polls show that swing voters coming out strongly against illegal immigration.
Follow the money. One of the main arguments from the left against asking the citizenship question is that it will deter people living here illegally from responding. If they do not respond and are not counted in the population, then that state or district will not be fairly represented in Congress. The problem with the argument is that most studies show that, if illegals are fairly counted, blue states like California and New York may lose representation, and red states such as Texas may gain. The real issue is the money. The federal government apportions money to states for services based on accurate populations in the state. As the left-leaning states promise more and more benefits to illegals living there, they have to find a way to subsidize their promises. With huge unfunded entitlements already threatening to bankrupt the local governments and with scores of people and companies fleeing to more business and tax friendly locales, no source of income can be lost.
Power means control. Illegal immigrants tend to congregate in large cities which also tend to be overwhelmingly blue. Coming back to the argument, either real or imagined, that the census question will lead to a population undercount, the left has an intrinsic motive for making sure the immigrant count is as high as possible. A high count will ensure more representation where the left wants it and less in flyover country where the deplorables reside.
Socialism is the end goal. Immigrants are one of the keys to changing the United States into a socialist society. In part because of recent events in Venezuela which explicitly show the devastation brought on by implementing socialist policies, the native-born population has become increasingly resistant to socialism. (College age students are a notable exception to this.) The long game on the left involves replacing the native-born population within the next few generations with a foreign born one which comes from countries with a tradition of big government and substantial welfare safety nets and who are more inclined to vote for socialist policies. It is in the Democrats’ best interest, for the aforementioned reasons, to underestimate the actual number of illegal immigrants living in the United States until it is too late for the native-born and legal immigrant population to do anything about it.
They don’t like Trump and he’s a racist. Any opportunity the left gets to defy, resist, or block Trump, any time they can present Trump as someone who believes he is above the law, is a good day for them. If they can get the courts to rule against him, they offer it as ‘proof’ that Trump must be doing something illegal. Unfortunately for the Democrats, Trump has been remarkably immune to the criticism as well as incredibly successful implementing his policies even with the unprecedented resistance he has faced. So, when all else fails, claim racism. In the logic of the left, Trump opposes unfettered immigration, ergo, he is a racist. At least, that is what the left tells their constituents who need to be kept in a state of perpetual anger so that they do not realize that Trump’s economic policies have actually benefitted immigrants and minorities to a much greater extent than have the policies of any recent administration.
There is no evidence that the Democrats’ tactics will be successful in the end. The DOJ may still find a way to allow the Commerce Department to get the citizenship question on the 2020 census. Of course, the Democrats will continue to resist. It is unknown what effect, if any, the question might have on obtaining an accurate population count and how that might reduce voter fraud, assuming the Trump administration does find a way to include it. What is not in question is whether or not the voter records system is out of date and subject to fraud. Even the Democrats agree with that. The question is whether or not they want to do something about it.
By Andrew Brown
This Article originally published in Christian Times Magazine Issue 33 | August 2019