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Illegals Will be Counted in the U.S. Census

By Dave Eberhart   |   Tuesday, 11 Aug 2009 02:21 PM

California could get nine House seats it doesn’t constitutionally rate because illegal aliens will be counted in 2010, concluded an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal.

The forthcoming census, which determines the apportionment of House members and Electoral College votes for each state, will be counting all persons physically present in the country -- without regard to the legality of their status.

Set for big gains thanks to illegal populations is not only California but Florida, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and Texas, according to the Census Bureau’s 2007 American Community Survey data.

California has 5,622,422 noncitizens in its population of 36,264,467. Based on a round-number projection by the WSJ authors of a decade-end population in the Golden State of 37,000,000 (including 5,750,000 noncitizens), California would have 57 members in the newly-reapportioned U.S. House of Representatives.

“However, with noncitizens not included for purposes of reapportionment, California would have 48 House seats (based on an estimated 308 million total population in 2010 with 283 million citizens, or 650,000 citizens per House seat),” noted the report authors.

Meanwhile, using a similar projection, the authors noted that Texas would have 38 House members with noncitizens included. With only citizens counted, it would be entitled to 34 members.

Getting counted might seem at first blush a good thing for illegals, but there is a movement afoot to encourage illegals to boycott the 2010 census.

As reported this week by sjnewsco, Rev. Miguel Rivera, head of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC), urged the boycott on attendees at a meeting of local migrant workers and sympathizers held at a Salvation Army facility in South Jersey.

CONLAMIC has been behind the boycott campaign "Legalization before Enumeration" throughout the country.

"We realize that the census is very important in setting Congressional districts and determining the distribution of funds," Rivera said. “The problem is, there is no other alternative in applying pressure to Congress to achieve fair and comprehensive immigration reform."

Furthermore, Rivera and other CONLAMIC leaders argued that officials have used previous census figures to persecute undocumented aliens.

Being counted, they say, has not been a positive thing.

While Rivera and his group express a very pragmatic interest in keeping illegals out of the count, the WSJ authors see the issue as one of Constitutionality.

“The Census Bureau can of course collect whatever data Congress authorizes. But Congress must not permit the bureau to unconstitutionally redefine who are ‘We the People of the United States,’” the authors argued.

Dr. Elizabeth Grieco, chief of the Census Bureau’s Immigration Statistics Staff, told the WSJ that the 2010 census short form does not ask about citizenship because “Congress has not asked us to do that.”

For sure , there has been a significant evolution from the kind of census envisioned by the founding fathers, noted the authors.

In 1790, the first Census Act provided for the counting of “inhabitants.”

“’Inhabitant’ was at that time a term with a well-defined meaning, maintained the authors.

As the Oxford English Dictionary expressed it, an “inhabitant” was one who “is a bona fide member of a State, subject to all the requisitions of its laws, and entitled to all the privileges which they confer.”

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