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Counting Foreigners in the U.S. Census?

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Posted on June 17 2010 1:04 pm
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By Jon N. Hall

The federal government is currently conducting its decennial exercise: the census. Some may think the Constitution requires the feds to conduct the census in a certain manner. But there are only two iterations of the word “census” in the entire Constitution.

One is in the 16th Amendment, which makes the census irrelevant to the income tax. And the other is in Article I, Section 9. 4: “No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken.” The enumeration (or “Census”) referred to is found in Article I, Section 2. 3: “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.” [Emphasis added.]

As far as the original Constitution treats the census, that’s it. Notice there’s no mention of a specific method. Indeed, that’s left up to Congress. It would seem there’s nothing to prevent the Census Bureau from doing its business differently.

But, Article I, Section 2. 3 was modified by the 14th Amendment, Section 2: “Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed.” The operative word here is “persons,” and it is interpreted to mean that illegal aliens and other foreigners (e.g. students) must be included in the census.

The number of seats in the U.S. House is set at 435. In Wesberry v. Sanders (1964), the Court required that those 435 seats represent congressional districts approximately equal in population. So the inclusion of foreigners in the U.S. census distorts representation in Congress: After the 1990 census Montana lost a congressional seat, and after the 2000 census California gained six congressional seats. This intolerable state of affairs exists because illegal aliens are counted in the census. But there are movements afoot to change the way the census is done. (Read the section on apportionment here.)

Read the rest at GOP USA.

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