An Interesting Action Challenging the Census

12010_census_reapportionmentJudicial Watch, a notoriously conservative group, has filed a Amicus Curiae Brief with Supreme Court. This is a opinion on case Louisiana v. Bryson What's it all about? Counting illegal immigrants in the 2010 Census.

The state of Louisiana, in a broad new challenge to the role of undocumented immigrants in American society, asked the Supreme Court on Monday to rule that those who are in the country illegally should not be counted in the ten-year national census, at least for purposes of deciding how to divide up seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. In a lawsuit filed directly in the Court, without prior action in lower courts, the state contended that it has been denied one potential seat in the House because illegal immigrants are counted in census totals, putting Louisiana at a disadvantage in House apportionment. The first step in the case of Louisiana v. Bryson (140 Original) is for the Court to decide whether to allow the lawsuit to go forward in the Court, presumably after hearing from the federal government.

Is it true? Does the Census count illegal immigrants, permanent residents and foreign guest workers? Why yes they do! The Census doesn't obtain any information on citizenship or immigration status in their data collections or surveys. One can see that in the 2010 form. Additionally the Census does not collect citizenship or immigration status in the surveys used for unemployment statistics.

So what does Judicial Watch have their panties all in a bunch about? Seems there are so many illegal immigrants and foreign guest workers in States it skewed the number of seats a state receives in the House of Representatives and electoral college. That's what the brief is about.

Judicial Watch, the organization that investigates and fights government corruption, announced today that it filed an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the State of Louisiana challenging a current federal policy in which “unlawfully present aliens” were counted in the 2010 Census (Louisiana v. Bryson).

The government used these census numbers to reapportion seats in the House of Representatives and, as a result, the State of Louisiana lost a House seat to which it was entitled. Louisiana is asking that the Supreme Court order the federal government to recalculate the 2010 apportionment of House seats based upon legal residents as the U.S. Constitution requires.

Judicial Watch’s brief was filed on January 13, 2012, in partnership with the Allied Educational Foundation (AEF) in a lawsuit filed by the State of Louisiana against John Bryson, U.S. Secretary of Commerce; Robert Groves, Director of the U.S. Census Bureau; and Karen Lehman Hass, Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. According to the brief:

Amici are concerned about the failure to enforce the nation’s immigration laws and the corrosive effect of this failure on our institutions and the rule of law. Among the problems caused by this failure is a redistribution of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives to States with large populations of unlawfully present aliens.

Amici respectfully submit that neither Article I Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, the Fourteenth Amendment, or any other provision of the Constitution authorize or permit the inclusion of unlawfully present aliens in the apportionment process. As a result, this case raises issues critical not just to Louisiana, but to every State, every American citizen, and our federal system of government.

Judicial Watch argues that due to this Census Bureau policy at least five states will lose House seats to which they are entitled. For example, based upon the Census Bureau’s calculation, Louisiana is being allocated only six House seats, as opposed to the seven that it would have been apportioned, were it not for the inclusion of illegal aliens and “non-immigrant foreign nationals,” encompassing holders of student visas and guest workers. The brief also notes that the “apportionment, in turn, determines the apportionment of electors in the Electoral College for the next three presidential elections.”

We would like to see citizenship and immigration status determined for unemployment statistics. In some occupational categories, Americans are displaced with foreign guest workers. Additionally, it would be nice to know just how many people are in the United States illegally.

The Census is sensitive stuff. Japanese internment during WWII was obtained by Census data and as a result there is a 72 year wait period before individual records are released.

The House of Representatives apportionment is directed by the 14th amendment of the Constitution, in particular the citizenship clause.

We'll let the various special interests and other organizations battle this one out. But if the state of Louisiana wins their case, it could be great news for labor and employment statistics. Finally we might have a modern sense of what's going on in today's globalized and often arbitraged labor force.

From SCOTUS blog:

The lawsuit raises three questions:

1. Do the clauses in Article I and the 14th Amendment regarding House apportionment bar the counting of “non-immigrant foreign nationals” for purposes of dividing up House seats.

2. Does their counting for that purpose deprive states like Louisiana of their right to equal representation in proportion to their population in Congress and in the Electoral College, in violation of the constitutional requirement that Representatives be chosen by “the people.”

3. Whether the counting of such individuals for apportionment purposes “dilutes the strength of a voter’s ballot in states” with few undocumented immigrants, in violation of equal protection guarantees under the Fifth Amendment.



Challenging the Census

True, the census doesn't ask for citizenship, and that's because Congress has never asked for it. However, you are incorrect is saying that the Census Bureau does ask a citizenship question. It does in its annual American Community Survey. According to 2010 American Community Survey results, there were an estimated 22.5 million people in the country who were not citizens in 2010.


you're right, the ACS is way more in depth and I think you're right on the citizenship question. But for unemployment statistics they don't ask. I think it's vitally important to find out citizenship/immigration status for employment statistics. They literally do not know (or will not publish) how many foreign guest workers are in the United States. Just by 9/11 alone that's shocking but it makes it very difficult to show labor arbitrage through guest workers. We have plenty of evidence this is going on but that would prove it.

Another thing the unemployment statistics don't find out is how many have been forced out of an occupation. You're not an out of work PhD Chemist working at home deport by their count, you're a retail trade sales worker.

They also don't ask for Congressional seat appropriations which, well, last I heard if one doesn't have U.S. citizenship you're not supposed to vote.

This is a really interesting case at minimum and in terms of politics, gives even more illumination on "positions" w.r.t. enforcement.