Friday, October 9, 2009

Never let the Constitution stand in the way of political grandstanding

“In the past, some states have included illegal immigrants during the census, resulting in the allocation of additional congressional seats. We shouldn’t let these states be rewarded for skirting our federal laws, and this amendment will help stop this practice.” This was the statement of Senator David Vitter when he proposed his amendment to to prevent states from counting illegal aliens for the purposes of determining population levels and other data associated with the 2010 Census. Senator Bennett of Utah also supports this amendment.

Sec. 2 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution states, "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." The purpose of the 14th Amendment was to count everyone and end the fractional counting of African-Americans that preceded the Civil War. According to a very informative site on the Census, "The Attorney General ruled, in 1940, that there were no longer any Indians in the United States who could be classified as 'not taxed.'" So everyone is to be counted in the Census. You can read the statutory rules for the Census here.

I suppose Senators Vitter and Bennett will have to think of something else...

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