Newspaper column: Census should ask about citizenship

Ignorance is not bliss.

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have sued in an effort to block the 2020 Census from asking about citizenship status, claiming the question will prompt illegal immigrants to not respond and thus result in an undercount of population. That, they say, could result in the loss of congressional representation and federal funding for states, such as California, that have large immigrant populations.

According to the 14th Amendment, “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.” That’s the whole number of persons, not just citizens.

The stakes for Nevada are also high.

According to a Pew Research report, in 2012 Nevada’s population included 7.6 percent illegal immigrants, its workforce was 10.2 percent illegals and its school enrollment included 17.7 percent whose parents are not in the country legally. All of those levels were the highest in the nation and climbing.

According to estimates posted by the Census Bureau in July, fully 19.3 percent of Nevada residents were foreign born. Fully 27 percent of Californians were foreign born. The problem is that there is no accurate number for how many of those have attained citizenship or legal residency.

The citizenship question was asked up until 1950 and is still asked on the more detailed American Community Survey that goes to about 2.6 percent of the population each year.

The Census Bureau explains why the citizenship and place of birth questions are on the long form: “We ask about people in the community born in other countries in combination with information about housing, language spoken at home, employment, and education, to help government and communities enforce laws, regulations, and policies against discrimination based on national origin. For example, these data are used to support the enforcement responsibilities under the Voting Rights Act to investigate differences in voter participation rates and to enforce other laws and policies regarding bilingual requirements.”

Those who oppose asking about citizenship status do so under the purely speculative supposition that non-citizens will spurn the census entirely, ignoring the fact the Census Bureau is legally bound by strict confidentiality requirements. It may not share individual data with ICE, the IRS, the FBI, the CIA or anyone.

Additionally, refusing to comply with the Census can result in a $100 fine and providing false data can result in a $500 fine, though reportedly no one has been fined since 1970.

Nevada Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto railed, “This decision trades the accuracy of a census designed to provide complete count of the entire nation’s population for a political win for President Trump. This is a direct attack on immigrant populations that could lead to undercounted and underfunded minority districts across the country. It is an assault on our representative democracy and our Constitution which requires a complete and accurate count of everyone living in the country, no matter their citizenship status.”

Nevada Rep. Jacky Rosen, a Democrat running for Republican Sen. Dean Heller’s seat, said the citizenship question “politicizes the census and drags its integrity into question. It’s clear that the Trump administration is looking to ensure Nevada’s immigrant communities are underserved and underrepresented for the next decade.”

The mostly Democratic-majority states that are suing over the Census question about citizenship are claiming the knowledge will somehow dilute minority representation, but the opposite is the case.

A Wall Street Journal editorial recently pointed out, “The progressive critics are also missing that Commerce says the Justice Department requested the citizenship question to continue a longtime progressive policy: to wit, enforcing Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits voting practices that discriminate by race. Justice supposedly needs detailed data on citizen voting-age population by census block, which the American Community Survey doesn’t provide.”

Hans von Spakovsky explained in an essay penned for The Heritage Foundation, “Citizenship information collected in the 2000 census was vital to our efforts to enforce the Voting Rights Act when I worked at the U.S. Department of Justice. When reviewing claims of whether the voting strength of minority voters was being diluted in redistricting, it was essential to know the size of the citizen voting age population.”

So it certainly seems that the self-styled progressives are ignoring the facts, the statistics and the well-being of those they claim to wish to protect.

A version of this column appeared this week in many of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record — and the Elko Daily Free Press.

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‘If you’re a criminal, you’ll be deported’ — starting when?

Obama speech tonight:

If you’re a criminal, you’ll be deported.

Center for Immigration Studies report from May:

In 2013, ICE freed 36,007 convicted criminal aliens from detention who were awaiting the outcome of deportation proceedings, according to a document obtained by the Center for Immigration Studies. This group included aliens convicted of hundreds of violent and serious crimes, including homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping, and aggravated assault. The list of crimes also includes more than 16,000 drunk or drugged driving convictions. The vast majority of these releases from ICE custody were discretionary, not required by law (in fact, in some instances, apparently contrary to law), nor the result of local sanctuary policies.

The document reveals that the 36,007 convicted criminal aliens freed from ICE custody in many instances had multiple convictions. Among them, the 36,007 had nearly 88,000 convictions, including:

  • 193 homicide convictions (including one willful killing of a public official with gun)

  • 426 sexual assault convictions

  • 303 kidnapping convictions

  • 1,075 aggravated assault convictions

  • 1,160 stolen vehicle convictions

  • 9,187 dangerous drug convictions

  • 16,070 drunk or drugged driving convictions

  • 303 flight escape convictions

 

If taxes can be an incentive for companies, why not for illegal immigrants?

Taxes are causing a number of American companies to seek shelter overseas, as The Wall Street Journal points out in an editorial today on how Treasury Secretary Jack Lew wants to make things worse.

WSJ noted Lew wants to punish those companies and wrote:

“Mr. Lew is responding to a recent flurry by U.S.-based companies to merge with or acquire foreign companies so they can relocate their headquarters overseas. These so-called inversions allow companies to reduce their overall tax burden by avoiding America’s 35% corporate tax rate—40% on average including state levies—on income they earn overseas. The combined U.S. rate is double the average in Europe and is more than triple the 12.5% rate in Ireland.”

Meanwhile, over at Investor’s Business Daily, their editorial suggests using taxes to curb illegal immigration.

IBD points out that this administration is making it easier and cheaper for illegals to send money to families back in their home countries, such as putting an end to “hidden fees” banks charge immigrants to wire funds.

“Consumers sending $200 from here to El Salvador might find they pay anywhere from $8 to $33,” the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Chief Richard Cordray complained

IBD suggests we tax such transfers and use the money to pay for government services we provide Salvadorans or use the money to beef up border security.

On average, illegals send $300 back to Latin America each month. Tax that and provide an incentive for them to stay home.

Taxes can be a powerful incentive and work both ways.

Billions for detention and handling of illegals, but not one dime for turning them back at the border and not letting them cross

Illegal immigrant children at the border.

Central American parents are sending their unaccompanied children north to the U.S. because they believe their children will be given homes, food, clothes, an education and medical care and will not be sent back.

So, what is included in Obama’s proposed $3.7 billion spending package to “secure” the border?

The biggest item is $1.8 billion for Health and Human Services  “to provide the appropriate care for unaccompanied children, consistent with Federal law, while maintaining services for refugees.  With these funds, HHS will have the resources to be able to care for the children currently projected to come into the custody of the Department of Homeland Security while putting in place more stable, cost-effective arrangements for these children going forward.” Going forward means for the long haul.

As for actually securing the border and turning back illegals before entering the country, there is not a mention of doing so.

Obama proposes $433 million for the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, but much of that is for  “contract services and facility costs to care for children while in CBP custody, and medical and transportation.”

It all about apprehending and detaining and not turning back.

Obama proposes $1.1 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement:

  • $116 million would pay for transportation costs associated with the significant rise in apprehensions of unaccompanied children;
  • $109 million would provide for immigration and customs enforcement efforts, including expanding the Border Enforcement Security Task Force program, doubling the size of vetted units in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, and expanding investigatory activities by ICE Homeland Security Investigations; and
  • $879 million would pay for detention and removal of apprehended undocumented adults traveling with children, expansion of alternatives to detention programs for these individuals, and additional prosecution capacity for adults with children who cross the border unlawfully.

Most the rest of the money goes for paying lawyers and judges and clerical staff to push paper around for years and years, such as the “$45.4 million would be to hire approximately 40 additional immigration judge teams.”

Then there is that $5 million for a propaganda campaign in Central America that “will emphasize the dangers of the journey, deliver the message that unaccompanied children are not given a permit to stay in the U.S.” Nope. No permit just perpetual care and a lot of paperwork.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry points out that there is no Border Patrol at the border to turn back foreigners.

“The president was not even aware that his border patrol was back 40 or 45 miles from the border at these checkpoints,” he said on Fox News. “They need to be right on the ripper, they need to be there as a show of force.”

Perry went on to say:

“Very little of it [the bill] is for border security. And I think until he gets realistic about the problem and how you deal with the problem, and it is a border security issue, and we’ve got a track record now of five plus years of him disregarding what is going on on the border, so here’s his opportunity to truly lead.”

Lead? He wouldn’t even go to the border — or send his Border Patrol there.

Today the White House confirmed that many of the illegals will be allowed to stay in this country permanently if they simply say they are afraid to return home because of the dangers there.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said:

“These children will — and other immigrants who are attempting to enter the country without documentation — will go through the immigration process and that means their claims of asylum will be considered by an immigration judge and by asylum officials.

“What that means is it means that if a immigration judge determines that they face a credible threat of death upon their return to their home country, then, again, I’m not an immigration judge, but it is likely that the immigration judge will find that that person should be granted humanitarian relief.”

Don’t we all face a credible threat of death eventually?

 

Glenn McCoy cartoon