One free citizen seems small, in the grand scheme. Yet honoring freedom and citizenship –distinguishing free from unfree, citizen from non-citizen – is at the heart of the republic. President Trump gets it – and is protecting every free citizen’s vote. Here is how.
With unblinking respect for the Constitution, Trump last week clarified the 2020 Census. Faced with Democratic double-speak – blurring illegal aliens and bona fides citizens, Trump issued a directive that stopped the line-blurring.
Apportionment of congressional seats and federal dollars turn on the Census. So, the President directed only US citizens will be counted in the Census. Logically, if only US citizens vote, then congressional seats-per-state should be set by the citizen count, not by counting non-citizens.
Likewise, if constitutional rights are framed to protect citizens, not empower or enrich non-citizens, the federal government is entitled to distribute benefits based on citizenship count.
Lifetime Democrat and Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black would have agreed with Trump. Wrote Black: “Citizenship is no light trifle to be jeopardized any moment Congress decides to do so, under the name of one of its general or implied grants of power.”
In short, Congress’ job is to represent citizens, not illegal aliens. Congress is elected by citizens, not illegal aliens. Congressional seats should be apportioned by counting American citizens. Simple, right? Only Democrats disagree.
Initially, President Trump tried to include a “citizenship” question on the Census. Again, logic suggests that is smart. After all, past administrations in both parties did that.
But no, Democrats claimed that was prejudicial. Why? According to the left-dominated federal bench, any mention of “citizenship” could discourage census participation by families with illegals. They argued this would hurt Hispanic communities – amounted to prejudice.
Ironically, many legal Hispanic voters are Republican. The number is growing. When Nixon won a landslide victory in 1972, it included 30 percent of the Hispanic vote. When Reagan won a landslide in 1984, it included 35 percent of the Hispanic vote. Both stressed Hispanic-American alignment with historically Republican values, including religious freedom, family, secure borders, free enterprise, and entrepreneurship.
Notably these are values Trump champions. Not coincidentally, Hispanic-American approval of Trump stands at 44 percent, and a 2020 Pew poll observed: “76 percent of all Hispanics want to beef up border-security measures, and 66 percent favor cracking down on illegal crossings.” So, many Hispanic-Americans might have favored Trump’s citizenship question. See, e.g. https://nypost.com/2020/05/30/why-so-many-latino-voters-are-flocking-to-trumps-gop/.
In any event, with the questions blocked, Trump has found another way to guarantee integrity of congressional representation and fair distribution of federal dollars. Last week, he issued a presidential directive “clarifying that illegal aliens are not to be included for the purpose of apportionment of Representatives following the 2020 census,” “directing the Federal government to collect … accurate citizenship data,” and noting that “giving congressional representation and political influence to illegal aliens – people who have blatantly disregarded our laws – would be a perversion of our democratic principles.” Exactly right.
Trump further declared “allowing illegal aliens to be counted for the purpose of apportionment could also create perverse incentives – such as potentially rewarding states that encourage violations of Federal immigration law – that would undermine our system of government.”
Trump said he will “never allow our democracy to be eroded by giving congressional representation to illegal aliens when the Constitution does not require it” and that Supreme Court decisions, such as Franklin v. Massachusetts, explain inclusion in the “apportionment base” requires “more than mere physical presence,” rather “allegiance” or “enduring ties” to America.
On the flip side, Trump observed over-inclusion hurts citizens. “Failure to exclude illegal aliens for the purposes of apportionment would have major ramifications” causing “American citizens to be proportionally underrepresented,” particularly in states now housing millions of illegals.
Finally, the White House noted, “after years of neglect, President Trump is restoring the rule of law, securing our border, and protecting our Nation’s communities,” which – funny enough – is something that Hispanic-American citizens very much want!
Net-net, as Democrats argue Trump seeks to “weaponize the census for an attack on immigrant communities,” President Trump is instead protecting every American citizen – every one of us. That may seem a small thing but protecting the integrity of citizenship is significant. See, e.g., https://news.yahoo.com/trump-signs-order-excluding-illegal-130054539.html.
Most Americans understand directives like this protect the integrity of our vote, Congress as an institution, and our Republic. They are right. Samuel Adams wrote: “Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote … he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.” That is why we protect the vote.
One last thought – as it matters. John Adams spoke to us two centuries ago, when he said: “You will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom … I hope you will make a good use of it.” That, in short, is our obligation to his time and to America’s future.