The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

17 June 2005

Taking leave of one's census

Matt Deatherage titled this screed "Istook's tired of representing those nasty non-citizens," which may be true, but then again, Ernest Istook hasn't been exactly enthusiastic about representing the actual citizens in his district either; there are times when it seems he's been much more interested in seeing that Utah gets its share of pork federal dollars.

Still, I'd be hard-pressed to make a case that non-citizens, nasty or otherwise, have any call on representation at all, so Istook's attempt to latch onto House Joint Resolution 53, which proposes to limit the Census to actual citizens, is at least somewhat defensible, and Matt Deatherage's reference to "annoying brown-skinned people" strikes me as a gratuitous slur: all illegal immigrants are annoying, irrespective of skin color, even if (as is almost certain) some of them are relatives of mine.

Posted at 10:59 AM to Political Science Fiction


Whether they annoy you or not, they exist, they work jobs (often that others won't take), they give birth to kids in this country who are citizens, and they occasionally need medical care and education and even an ambulance.

Writing them out of apportionment, like making sure the Census doesn't count them, is just a way of making sure that those states that have such populations don't get the resources necessary to maintain public health and safety.

Posted by: Matt at 5:37 PM on 17 June 2005

They're here, so we need these services. That suggests that we wouldn't need these services if they weren't here, and frankly, I'm more inclined to spend tax money on people who actually went to the trouble to follow the rules.

At some point, we're going to have to allow more folks in through channels, and that's fine with me. But there's no incentive for someone to go through channels if he can just sneak across the border and still get benefits.

Posted by: CGHill at 6:28 PM on 17 June 2005

"I'm sorry, sir, but we can't treat you for your serious injuries from being hit by a fire truck because you're not a citizen. If we saved your life, there'd be no incentive for others to go through the channels since you could just sneak in and get the benefits."

Color me unimpressed.

Posted by: Matt at 6:55 PM on 17 June 2005

CG, although I disagree with your invective about illegal immigrants, you're missing another point - Istook's amendment would also not count legal immigrants. It's also punishing the people who did "go through channels" by making sure they don't count in apportionment.

You do Istook's work for him when you conflate "non-citizen" and "illegal immigrant."

Posted by: Matt at 9:28 PM on 17 June 2005

It does do that, yes. And yes, I'd prefer that they modify the language so that the count includes legal immigrants.

Posted by: CGHill at 8:46 AM on 18 June 2005