By Deroy Murdock
Published April 22, 2019
Democrats were for the Census Bureau’s “racist” citizenship question before they were against it.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday will hear oral arguments on whether or not the Trump administration may ask a simple question on the 2020 Census: “Is this person a CITIZEN of the United States?”
The Commerce Department, which administers the Census, argues that the federal government is better off knowing how many citizens versus non-citizens live in America. Furthermore, Commerce says, such data can help enforce the Voting Rights Act.
But the left sees something far more sinister in this simple query.
• According to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Trump’s citizenship question is all about “injecting fear into our most vulnerable communities and making traditionally undercounted communities even further under-represented, financially excluded, and left behind.”
• Senator Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, warns that “The administration’s ongoing effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census is part of a concerted effort to cater to the anti-immigrant base and foment fear espoused by President Trump.”
• “I will continue fight [sic] against this nonsense proposal to stoke fear and force immigrants into the shadows,” pledges Senator Robert Menendez, D-N.J.
• Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, calls the citizenship question “nothing more than a pretext to carry out the Trump Administration’s racist agenda.”
• “We must keep up the fight to block this racist, anti-immigrant question from the census,” screams the Daily Kos Liberation League.
It’s tough to decide whether to get angry at these liberals for cynically spreading this hysterical rubbish or to call an ambulance, so they can get immediate help for their phobophobia.
For wanting to learn about citizenship, Trump is not a racist. He is a thief. He swiped this supposedly bigoted query directly from: Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, hardly known as white supremacists.
The Clinton Administration’s 2000 Census included a “long form” questionnaire. It stated: “This is the official form for all the people at this address. It is quick and easy, and your answers are protected by law. Complete the Census and help your community get what it needs — today and in the future!”
On page four, Question 13 asked: “Is this person a CITIZEN of the United States?” A respondent could indicate that he was born in the U.S.A, in U.S. territories, abroad to American parents; a citizen via naturalization; or “No, not a citizen of the United States.”
This unbridled bigotry raged on under Obama’s Anglo-Saxorama. His 2010 Census did not ask the citizenship question. However, between 2010 and 2017, all eight of Obama’s annual American Community Surveys asked “three questions that cover information on place of birth, citizenship, and year of entry to better understand the composition of our nation’s changing population,” according to the ACS website.
Unlike the full, decennial Census, the ACS’ smaller, annual snapshots are not used for enumeration. Still, the website explains, “We compile the results from these questions to provide communities with important statistics to help ensure equal opportunity, educate children, and understand change” — all worthy objectives that deserve applause, from left to right.
On page eight, Question Eight of Obama’s ACS asked: “Is this person a citizen of the United States,” and offered the same choices as those on the 2000 Census.
The left insists that the citizenship question will send immigrants — especially Hispanic ones, and certainly illegal immigrants — diving into their basements the second they hear it. (What a cold, liberal slap across the faces of legal immigrants!) If this is true, Democrats should explain right now why all eight of Obama’s ACSs posed this question in Spanish: “¿Es esta persona ciudadana de los Estados Unidos?”
Attorney General Ken Paxton, R-Texas, recalled in The Hill that Thomas Jefferson first proposed a citizenship question in 1800, some 80 years before President Trump’s grandfather reached America and 219 years before the U.S. totally lost control of its southern border. Jefferson wanted Washington, D.C., to have “the respective numbers of native citizens, citizens of foreign birth, and of aliens.” The 1820 Census, thus, asked each household to report its count of “foreigners not naturalized,” if any.
If President Trump’s citizenship query is a cornerstone of white supremacy, so were Obama’s and Clinton’s. And if Obama and Clinton raised this question absent racial animus, so does Trump.
This inquiry, in fact, pre-dates these three presidents — and how!
“The citizenship question recurred multiple times from 1820 to 1890,” Paxton wrote. “And from 1890 to 1950, it appeared on every census. Since then, it has been included on every long-form census questionnaire from 1970 to 2000...The citizenship question is not a new concept; it is the restoration of common sense.”
Democrats laugh derisively when the Trump administration says that it wants to ask about citizenship to enforce the Voting Rights Act. As Paxton explains, this is entirely valid. “If there are, say, 300,000 U.S. citizens in a district, and 350,000 turn out to vote in an election, we’ll know there’s a problem.” When such skullduggery arises, minority voters certainly will find themselves disenfranchised by bogus ballots.
Another perfectly legitimate reason for the citizenship question is to identify jurisdictions brimming with non-citizens. Such data would help policymakers allocate tax dollars for civics classes, naturalization personnel, and other efforts at inclusion and assimilation. Informed by a citizenship question on the 2020 Census, such initiatives would benefit immigrants, not least the Hispanics among them.
The Supreme Court should ignore the left’s typical and tired fantasies of rampant bigotry and affirm the Trump administration’s simple plan to count everyone in America — citizens and non-citizens.
Michael Malarkey contributed research to this opinion piece.