House Passes 'Electoral Integrity' Bill To Restore Citizenship Question To Census

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, May 09, 2024 - 03:20 PM

Authored by Katabella Roberts via The Epoch Times,

The House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to pass a measure that would add a citizenship question to the next U.S. census, as part of the latest efforts by conservatives to “protect America’s democracy and electoral integrity.”

The legislation, known as the “Equal Representation Act,” was led by Rep. Chuck Edwards, (R-N.C.), who spoke on the floor Wednesday regarding the need to ensure only American citizens are counted when apportioning congressional seats and Electoral College votes.

It passed in a vote of 206-202 along party lines.

The measure would direct the Census Bureau to add a question to the once-a-decade census asking whether or not the respondent is a citizen of the United States. It asks that only citizens be considered when determining how many lawmakers each state gets in the House of Representatives, as well as how many Electoral College votes each of the 50 states receives.

The measure creates new reporting requirements for data gathered from the citizenship question, noting that “the citizenship makeup of the population in the United States is a basic data point that should be available to U.S. policymakers, and the decennial census questionnaire is the best way to obtain such detailed information on citizenship status.”

The next decennial census is set to take place in 2030.

“Though commonsense dictates that only citizens should be counted for apportionment purposes, illegal aliens have nonetheless recently been counted toward the final tallies that determine how many House seats each state is allocated and the number of electoral votes it will wield in presidential elections,” Mr. Edwards said in remarks on the floor on Wednesday.

“And since the illegal alien population is not evenly distributed throughout the nation, American citizens in some states are losing representation in Congress to illegal aliens in other states, ” he added.

‘Alarming Undermining of American Democracy’

Mr. Edwards cited a 2019 study by the Center for Immigration Studies, which estimated that illegal immigrants and non-citizens, who have not naturalized and do not have the right to vote, impact the distribution of 26 seats in the House.

The lawmaker said his bill would “finally address this alarming undermining of American democracy” while helping to ensure electoral integrity.

“Enacting this legislation into law is vitally important to ensuring that the American people receive fair representation in Congress and that they, and only they, determine the outcomes of presidential elections,” Mr. Edwards said.

Conservatives welcomed the measure on Wednesday. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said in a statement after the vote, “We should not reward states and cities that violate federal immigration laws and maintain sanctuary policies with increased Congressional representation.”

House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) applauded Wednesday’s passage of the Equal Representation Act while criticizing the Biden administration’s “open border policies” which he said have “created the worst border crisis in American history, impacting every American.”

“In the midst of a crisis that is setting records for illegal border crossings, Congress is today taking steps to proactively protect a fair electoral process,” Mr. Comer said in a statement.

Mr. Comer said the new bill “adds a simple citizenship question to the decennial census questionnaire to ensure accurate information, and provides that only citizens are counted for apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives and Electoral College votes.”

“American citizens’ federal representation should be determined by American citizens only,” the Republican added.

President Joe Biden speaks to guests during an event at Gateway Technical College’s iMet Center in Sturtevant, Wis., on May 8, 2024. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

White House ‘Strongly Opposes’ Bill

However, civil rights groups, Democrats, and the White House quickly criticized the bill–which is unlikely to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate–with many questioning its legality under U.S. law.

The Constitution states that representatives will “be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state.”

In a statement of administration policy published on Monday, the Biden administration said it “strongly opposes H.R. 7109 [the Equal Representation Act]” which would “preclude the Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau from performing its constitutionally mandated responsibility to count the number of persons in the United States in the decennial census.”

The measure would also increase the cost of conducting the census and make it more difficult to obtain accurate data, the administration said.

“It would also violate the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, which requires that the number of seats in the House of Representatives ‘be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State,’” the administration added.

This is not the first time Republicans have attempted to add the citizenship question to the census. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross tried to do so during the 2020 Census under President Donald Trump.

That attempt was subsequently blocked by the Supreme Court.