The Alabama House Republican Caucus’s approved a resolution on Wednesday encouraging the Supreme Court to allow a question about citizenship status on the upcoming 2020 Census.
The resolution, authored by State Rep. Wes Allen, R-Troy, passed unanimously with all 76 members of the caucus supporting it.
The House Republicans want the question included on the Census because they say the inclusion of undocumented immigrants in state population counts could tamper with population-based funding and the number of seats allocated to states in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“While Alabama has taken a hard stance against illegal immigration, liberal states like California, New York and Massachusetts have thrown open their borders to those who break our laws with their simple presence,” Allen said. “In essence, they stand to benefit by thumbing their noses at long-standing federal immigration law.”
Question of citizenship has not been included in the U.S. census since 1950 for this same reason. Officials worried the question would reduce participation in the census, thus not giving states their fair number of seats and funding.
The Constitution directs a count of total population in the Census, not a count of citizens or permanent residents.
According to Allen, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of Department of Commerce v. New York, which focuses on whether the question of citizenship should be included in the 2020 census.
“Questions regarding citizenship have been included in the U.S. Census as far back as 1820, and Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom are among countries that routinely ask them,” Allen said. “Including questions about citizenship on the Census should be common sense, not controversial.”
This question, if added, could potentially influence the results of upcoming election cycles, giving states with smaller, and likely more conservative, populations more power than they currently have.
Allen’s resolution will be sent to the Supreme Court before oral arguments on the Department of Commerce v. New York case.