Another GOP move to undermine democracy
The U.S. Constitution provides two U.S. senators for each state, but the number of representatives to Congress will be determined by the population of each state. The size of a state’s population will include all residents, whether or not they are citizens. Nonetheless, Republicans plan to add a citizenship inquiry to the census questionnaire. The expectation is that undocumented residents in heavily Democratic states will not respond and thus reduce the apportioned number of U.S. representatives.
The apportionment process has often been politicized. When provisions of the Constitution were being negotiated, the slave states wanted slaves to be counted the same as free persons, even though they would never have the right to petition Congress to represent their interests. When the Constitution was approved in 1788, the issue was settled in Article I of the Constitution with the slaves being counted as three-fifths of other persons.
The problem with artificially reducing a state’s population today is that it will deprive the state of deserved federal funds. About $600 billion in federal spending is allocated according to population. Accurate census data determine who gets what benefits. That is an issue that does not rank very high on the Republican agenda.