The one potential Census question that terrifies liberals

Liberals, in general, love the Census.  It's full of questions about race and sex, the common fault lines by which liberals love to divide society.  They are even adding a question to the next Census to find out your favorite kind of sex, or approximation of it.

But one question liberals don't want to know is whether the person answering the census is an American.  They fear that if there is a question about citizenship, that illegal aliens won't fill it out.

The Justice Department is pushing for a question on citizenship to be added to the 2020 census, a move that observers say could depress participation by immigrants who fear that the government could use the information against them.  That, in turn, could have potentially large ripple effects for everything the once-a-decade census determines – from how congressional seats are distributed around the country to where hundreds of billions of federal dollars are spent.

Observers said they feared [that] adding a citizenship question would not only lower response rates, but also make the census more expensive ...

Oh, no!  Liberals, those deficit hawks, are concerned about the cost...of a question...on a form...already filled with questions!  What will that do to the national debt?

... and throw a wrench into the system with just two years to go before the 2020 count.  Questions are usually carefully field-tested, a process that can take years.

Correct!  It can take years for the government to figure out how to ask someone, "Are you a citizen of this country?"

"This is a recipe for sabotaging the census," said Arturo Vargas, a member of the National Advisory Committee of the Census and the executive director of NALEO Educational Fund, a Latino advocacy group.  "When you start adding last-minute questions that are not tested – how will the public understand the question?"

He's 100% correct!  If someone were to ask me, "Are you a citizen of the United States of America?," I would have to ask, "Excuse me, but what do you mean by 'citizen'?  And what is this 'United States' and 'America' you speak of?"  It's totally confusing!

"People are not going to come out to be counted because they're going to be fearful the information would be used for negative purposes," said Steve Jost, a former top bureau official during the 2010 census.  "This line about enforcing voting rights is a new and scary twist."

I love liberal metaphors!  If only Hollywood could produce the same kind of new and scary twists!

A recent Census Bureau presentation shows that the political climate is already having an effect on responsiveness to the bureau's American Community Survey, which asks a more extensive list of questions, including on citizenship status, to about one in 38 households in the country per year.  In one case, census interviewers reported, a respondent "walked out and left interviewer alone in home during citizenship questions."

Hm.  Do you think he had forgotten something he left cooking on the stove?

Left out of this pre-emptive hysteria is whether the Census should indiscriminately include non-citizens.  Under the Constitution, congressional districts are supposed to have roughly the same population.  But in districts that are heavily populated with illegals, some congressmen end up representing vastly fewer citizens than other congressmen.  Shouldn't districts be divided among equal numbers of citizens?  You could make the argument that the Constitution is being violated, right now, by not doing so.

Furthermore, why should welfare payments and subsidies be divided based on total population rather than citizen population?  Shouldn't government expenditures benefit citizens, not illegal aliens?  These are the discussions that liberals don't want to have.

Questions for discussion:

1) How many congressmen do you think places like Los Angeles, Miami, and New York would lose if the Census counted only citizens?

2) We are expected to be able to do our own taxes but not understand the question "Are you an American?"  Isn't it convenient that liberals make taxes and regulations as complicated as they like, as it suits them, but when it comes to a simple four-word question that goes counter to their political agenda, suddenly they play the dummy card?

Ed Straker is the senior writer at

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