Congress Serves Up Contempt Over Census Info
Congress Serves Up Contempt Over Census Info
The House Oversight Committee voted to hold Attorney General Barr and Commerce Secretary Ross in contempt. The AG and Secretary are accused of refusing to comply with requests for documents related to the citizenship question in Census 2020. Will Congress remember that their primary job is to legislate, not interrogate?
When the House of Representatives flipped to the Democrats everyone knew the investigations would ramp up. It was their campaign promise, across the party. Their confirmation bias is so strong they would drown in documents to prove their assertions. Why all the drama over a simple question of citizenship? Because the 2020 census precedes the 2021
redistricting gerrymandering process. It is about keeping their positions of power, and solidifying Democrat control. Maligning the Executive Branch’s staff, muddying the issue, and undercutting the Supreme Court in the process is a bonus.
The nut in the mix for this particular charge of contempt is the proposed citizenship question on the 2020 census. The White House States that it’s necessary for enforcement of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). The Democrats believe it will reduce the number of replies from Latinos and immigrants, both legal and illegal. Neither group will acknowledge that the other is somewhat correct in their belief. So we have contentious hearings, and a Supreme Court tied up with a case about a question on the census.
How can both parties be somewhat correct in their assertions? The census is done to determine population and from that the proportional number of representatives in the House. States with higher populations have more representatives. The Constitution is clear that even non-citizens count towards the number of seats in each state. This is where the Democrats have concerns. They surmise that if the citizenship question is on the census, illegal immigrants, legal immigrants, and Latino populations will not fill it out and return it. Thereby effectively reducing the amount of seats in states with high immigrant populations; places where the prevailing party is marked with a “D” on the ballot.
The White House asserts that to accurately enforce the Voting Rights Act we need to know how many citizens are in the country. This makes sense because while the population determines how many seats are apportioned each state, only legal immigrants and citizens can vote for the people in those seats.
The voting Rights Act allows for redrawing district lines to create minority blocks of votes. The presumption being that people will vote for someone who looks like them, and not someone who has good ideas and sees all Americans as equals. Snark aside, it’s designed to increase the voting power of minorities. Think of it as racially based gerrymandering. A heavily minority district may be overrepresented with non-citizens and under-represented in minority citizens. The area may be pocketed within a majority non-migrant population, that would (based on the logic of the VRA) essentially erase the minority vote.
The Voting Rights Act is the brain child of the LBJ administration. When it was enacted the non-citizen population within the USA was about 5%. Originally intended to ensure Black Americans were allowed to vote, passage of the VRA coincided with another LBJ braintrust policy, the Immigration and Nationality Act. It grossly shifted the immigrant population of the USA, and increased green card holder immigration to almost 1 million per year. Green Card holders are allowed to vote in local and state elections, but not federal (Presidential) because they are not citizens. It also opened the door to increased illegal immigration by eliminating the Bracero Act (a guest worker program for Mexican nationals, aimed at agricultural work). Since 1965 the legal immigrant population of the USA has climbed to 14% (Migration Policy Institute), and estimates for illegal population are 3.5% (PEW)
The background information is important because the entire reason the Census Question is an issue… Votes. The Democrats are worried that the census will alter the redistricting process next year and help Republicans gain seats. If the Democrats can prevent the question from being asked, they can muddy the redistricting process, and effectively lock out Republicans from gaining anything.
The House Oversight Committee requested documents to support their confirmation bias process. The DOJ and Dep. of Commerce provided documents. But they weren’t enough to give the Democrat controlled committee the right ammo to derail the citizenship question. They wanted to dig through more documents in hopes of finding the one that confirms their belief about how “evil Trump” is going to mis-use legally protected census data to hunt down non-citizens. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez implied that the SCOUTS decision isn’t good enough, ironically after stressing the importance of “co-equal” branches of government. She ranted about Dred Scott, and FDR’s use of census data to imprison Japanese-Americans. After yielding her time back to the Chairman, Rep. Elijah Cummings added that Trump is planning to put illegal migrants into some of those same camps they used for the Japanese. It’s about their narrative, not facts.
Korematsu vs. United States.
Party aside, the Supreme Court has gotten things horrifyingly wrong in the past.
That’s why Congress must preserve our power and independence: we are part of the check + balance. https://t.co/rTqPLOmozh
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 12, 2019
AG Barr and Commerce Secretary Ross are in the crosshairs of a “Trump hunt.” The Democrats are attempting to kill him with a thousand little cuts. Each one reported at length by a biased media.
Previous AG’s have been held in contempt by Congress. Janet Reno was cited during the Clinton impeachment process for failure to turn over documents to Congress. Most notably Obama’s AG Eric Holder was also cited, and charged with contempt by a full House vote of 255-67. His case went to Federal Court and it took 7 years after “Fast and Furious” to reach a settlement. I can’t wait to hear what Holder says about the Census 2020 and Barr being held in contempt. Eric Holder is working with the Obama machine to increase the odds of Democrats picking up seats after the 2020 census.
The contempt citation against Barr and Ross is a paper tiger. It serves as a distraction, but has no real teeth. The vote yesterday pushed it out of committee to the full House. But even if the entire House votes to hold them in contempt, there are no real penalties. To have any lasting impact it has to go to Federal Court. As the Holder trial shows, that can take years. 2020 will be in the past before a verdict is reached at trial. The Democrats understand this, and they are trying to lay the groundwork to undermine or legislate around the impending SCOTUS decision.
In the current form, the citizenship question is very benign. It’s almost comical how much fuss is being raised by this question. Commerce Secretary Ross has stated,
The census form would use the same wording as what is already used in the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, which asks respondents to check one of five categories to describe their citizenship status. Three categories apply to people who are U.S. citizens at birth: born in the U.S., born in a U.S. territory, or born abroad with at least one U.S. citizen parent. People who say they are a naturalized U.S. citizen are asked for their naturalization year. The fifth category is “not a U.S. citizen.” The survey does not ask whether noncitizens are legally in the country.”
Nowhere does the question ask the legal status of immigration. Is it possible to back track and regionalize a large number of illegal immigrants? Yes. But in all honesty ICE has a better idea of illegal populations than the census data will provide.
Obviously Congress is showboating for the cameras, and taking every opportunity to paint the Executive Branch as full of bigots and racists. It is a false picture, but one they will continue to paint at every opportunity. The ire at what they consider Republican attempts at gerrymandering is hypocritical, because it conflicts with their attempts at gerrymandering. Congress is failing in their job, while fighting over the electorate for whom they work. The backroom tactics are unbecoming of elected officials.
After watching Candace Owens response about Black voters being disenfranchised by ID requirements, something caught my attention. The focus on Latino populations as those most likely to be frightened at the citizenship question is completely offensive, and entirely in line with the Democrat mentality. Why should immigrant Latino’s be concerned about this question any more than Asians? Their non-statement implies that Latino immigrants are more likely to be here illegally and shines a light on the true racism in American politics. That of low expectations for minority populations. Black Americans are incapable of getting an ID, and Latino populations are all hiding in the shadows.
For the record, Mr. Chairman, we don’t all run around yelling “la migra” when there is a person in uniform. Most of us are capable of reading a census, and sending in the appropriate response. Some of us are capable of discerning that a question is none of the governments business, and leave it blank.
Featured Image: Donkey Hotey License under CC 2.0