Nobody really knows how many illegal aliens are living in the United States, but everyone generally agrees that they ought to be costing the government billions of dollars a year in services. Trump repeatedly cites the public cost of illegal aliens at well over $100 billion annually. This claim is heavily disputed, however (by sources that are not privy to the information the president of the United States has, mind you). Additionally, it’s unclear how many illegal aliens pay taxes, but it’s logical to conclude that it’s a very small number because larger paper trails make it easier for authorities to find and apprehend people living in the US illegally. Smart individuals living in the US illegally would be sure to make as little “noise” as possible.
Estimates vary widely concerning the number of illegal aliens in the US. A figure thrown around frequently guesses that the number of illegals in the US is somewhere around 11 million people. A comprehensive Yale study last year made the bold assessment that the number is actually about twice that, around 21 million. Some estimates go further than that and put the number of illegal aliens living in the United States over 35 million. So how do we know for sure? A good place to start is the United States Census.
The currently accepted estimate for the illegal alien population (the 11 million) relies on US Census Beauru surveys which are sent at random to selected individuals. The US Census, however, is much more comprehensive, every American must participate, and it’s required by the constitution. The census has been conducted every ten years since 1790. The 2020 US Census is the 24th in the nation’s history and Trump wants to add a new question to the form: “Is this person a citizen of the United States?”
Adding that question to the census has the potential to change everything. States are given federal funding and support based on their population as documented in the United States Census. Not being a citizen would disqualify the respondent from counting on population totals, and therein lies the reason why activist groups and states with large illegal alien populations like California and New York are fighting so hard. It’s all about money.
It is illegal to neglect the US Census or to give false information. However, some media firms, such as NBC, are telling readers not to worry about lying on the census (or encouraging them to lie on the census) because it’s a crime that’s not really prosecuted. While it’s true that lying on the census has been traditionally ignored, as the chief law enforcement officer of the United States, Donald Trump could change that overnight. Don’t be so sure. When billions of dollars in state funding and potential future electoral votes and House Representatives are on the line, the fight is real for all sides.
California currently has 55 electoral college votes and 53 US Representatives. Lower population numbers on the US Census because of illegal alien respondents being discounted could cost a state more than billions of dollars – it could also cause them electoral power. Earlier this month, in another bold display of judicial bravado, a New York judge ruled the question illegal and thus made its implementation uncertain. The Trump administration yesterday asked the US Supreme Court to hear the case on an expedited basis due to the urgency of the debate and the proximity of the 2020 US Census.
While opponents of the citizenship question argue that it undercuts states with large numbers of illegal aliens, it’s hard to think of the same not being true in reverse. States with few illegal aliens are receiving less money than states with more because those illegal aliens are treated as regular citizens and thus entitle their resident state to more federal money, and take federal money away from other states. It is fully within Trump’s right to add the citizenship question to the 2020 US Census, and he’d be irresponsible if he didn’t. Until the 1950s, the citizenship question was a part of the US Census, and it should be again. Only legal US citizens should be counted when it comes time to give states federal money and voting power.