A senseless census

Ted Yarmoski

Ryan Lam, Contributing Writer

For the first time since 1950, the Census Bureau will include a question regarding citizenship in their upcoming questionnaire. If this question is implemented, it will prove harmful to several states with a high illegal immigrant population, impacting representation in the government and federal tax money allocation.

There are 2.3 million undocumented immigrants out of the 39.5 million people living in California, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Questioning one’s citizenship status will most likely discourage illegal immigrants, who feel targeted, from filling out a census form.

Since the population of a state correlates to the amount of U.S. House of Representative seats it has, states with a higher portion of undocumented immigrants will lose representation, and with it political voice. Additionally, presidential electoral votes are impacted, because these are determined based on the population of each state’s house district.

A shift in political power would follow, since out of the six states with the highest unauthorized immigrant population, three of them are blue states while one is a red state, according to the Pew Research Center and Political Maps.org.

In California, the Department of Finance estimated that $1.5 billion could be lost if half of the illegal immigrant population did not fill out the census form. This means less money for public institutions such as schools and medical programs like Medicaid.

Furthermore, the question potentially violates the U.S. Constitution, which states that all citizens and noncitizens should be counted in the national survey. This will not be achieved if undocumented immigrants fear the consequences of answering the question, such as deportation and reduced wages.

In some states, the economy will be negatively impacted by a skewed census. Many companies rely on data from the census to determine the best location to expand or start businesses. Inaccurate data would deter economic growth and affect prices of products in many states. This would allow some places to prosper, while also creating expensive living conditions for others.

The U.S.  has been conducting the census without a citizenship question for over 50 years. Adding this question would prove harmful to many states, impacting funding, political power and economies. The Trump Administration’s decision will create more harm than good if implemented, and rethinking about this decision is the only logical option.