Sen. Republicans Propose Bill to Count Only U.S. Citizens in 2030 Census, Stirring Debate on Representation and Immigration Policy

February 9, 2024 /

Senate Republicans have announced they have introduced a bill that will only require U.S. citizens to be counted in the next census count in 2030. If passed, this law will change data gathering in the U.S. Census Bureau every 10 years, along with the apportionment of representatives and the number of votes for the Electoral College. 

“The basic function of the census is to determine an accurate makeup of our country. To ignore the fundamental distinction between legal citizens and illegal aliens produces not only inaccurate data, but creates an incentive for policies that encourage illegal immigration. We are already facing the worst border crisis in American history. Now is the time to reverse the failed policies of the past. That’s why I am glad to join Senator Hagerty on this bill and thank him for leading it,” Sen. Ted Budd said in a statement. Budd is one of the Sen. Republicans who support this bill, the Equal Representation Act.

The Census Bureau counts citizens and undocumented immigrants, which are included to apportion seats in the House of Representatives.

According to a 2020 study by a Pew Research Center analysis based on government records, if undocumented immigrants were removed from the 2020 census count “California, Florida and Texas would each end up with one less congressional seat than they would have been awarded based on population change alone. California would lose two seats instead of one, Florida would gain one instead of two, and Texas would gain two instead of three.”

Pew Research also reported California is home to the most immigrants than any other state in the country. California has 10.4 million immigrants and an estimated nearly two million are undocumented residents in 2021. 

“This kind of bill to try to erase from the count of every ten years, the decennial census count, to erase the undocumented population is nothing new. It’s been tried many, many times before during Trump’s period, during Obama’s period, and if you go back to early colonial and even early Republican period,” Gonzalo Santos, a former historical social science professor at CSUB said. 

Public Policy Institute of California reported California has a variety of immigrants from multiple countries; almost 4 million from Mexico, over 800,000 from the Philippines, over 780,000 from China and over 580,000 from India.  Nearly half of California’s immigrant population is from Latin America (49 percent), while 40 percent originate from Asia.

“When the various slave states wanted to have representation based on the number of people that lived in their states. They came down choosing three-fifths of a person for every counted slave. This was to benefit the states that had slaves so they could have more representatives in Congress. And it’s very interesting that three fifths is where they settled in the Constitution,” Santo continued. “So this is just to show you that this is a very old, old, old part of the American experience. We have very racist but meticulous people always trying to find ways to disempower people of color and to empower themselves. In terms of the undocumented people, it’s the same story. They want to disempower them and they want to disempower the states that have large undocumented populations, such as California, which has the largest population of undocumented people in the United States and  empower those places.”

The next census is to be set in 2030.

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Haley Duval

Haley is a reporter for Kern Sol News since December of 2023. She was born and raised in East Bakersfield and went to Foothill High School. Haley has AA in Journalism from Bakersfield College. When Haley is not reporting, she enjoys writing poetry, reading, traveling and spending time with friends and family. She can be reach at haley@southkernsol.org.