Sometimes one has to wonder whether Charlie Crist really wants to win his primary battle against Marco Rubio for the Republican nomination to contest Florida’s open Senate seat. When Rubio endorsed the conservative and mainstream national GOP position that the US Census should count only legal residents and citizens, Crist decided to differentiate himself by supporting the count of illegal immigrants — as a means to get more pork from Washington:
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio has come out against including illegal immigrants in the national census — even though doing so could significantly reduce Florida’s political power and share of federal funding. …
But, later, a spokesman for Rubio’s Senate campaign said that Rubio did “not support a congressional reapportionment process that counts illegal immigrant populations when allocating seats.” Alex Burgos said Rubio’s position “stems from a concern about rightful representation in Congress and ensuring that every voter has an equal voice.” …
Crist went to North Miami on Tuesday to urge everyone to participate in the census.
“The people of Florida represent a rich legacy of diverse cultures, backgrounds and experiences, and want to be represented accordingly,” Crist said. “Florida families should participate in the 2010 census to ensure our state receives the funding necessary to meet the needs of our citizens.”
The primary purpose of the Census is reapportionment. Sen. David Vitter is correct in saying that states with higher levels of illegal immigrants put other states at a disadvantage when it comes to representation in Congress. Florida houses an estimated 980,000 of the 11.5 million illegals in the US today, which represents about one and a half seats in the House of Representatives. When Vitter tried offering that restriction in a bill, Crist’s appointee to the Senate seat supported the cloture vote that blocked Vitters’ amendment.
But there is also $400 billion in federal programs available to states, allocated in large part on the basis of population. Crist wants a bigger piece of that pie, and Rubio also acknowledged that those kinds of considerations are not unimportant. That should demonstrate how federal programs distort political processes, though, and not give an excuse to pork feeders at the trough. The Constitutional requirement for a Census every ten years is to make sure that Americans have fair representation in the House, not to determine which little piggy gets the most slop.
The Census should always be restricted to counting those legally residing in the US, and the failure of people in government to understand that — people like Charlie Crist — just shows the corrosive nature of pork and of the growing Leviathan in Washington.