As we all prepare to fill out our decennial census forms this year (or most of us, anyway), Boston Globe columnist Renée Graham has a reminder for everyone. Donald Trump’s efforts to include the citizenship question on this year’s short-form were racist, xenophobic and bad. But even after the Supreme Court somehow saw fit to drop the question, it’s still going to be doing grave damage to our republic… or something. You see, the “sinister goal” of the Bad Orange Man will still be achieved because immigrants and communities of color will still be afraid to fill out the forms.
The 2020 Census will not have a citizenship question. Yet it may still achieve its sinister goal — keeping immigrants from participating.
When the Supreme Court last summer prevented the Trump administration from asking census respondents whether they are American citizens, some were quick to declare victory. In reality, it was akin to a small win in a raging war with multiple shifting fronts. Whether or not the question was allowed, its mere evocation was designed to have a chilling effect on vulnerable portions of the population.
“It’s about creating a culture of fear, and when you create a culture of fear, it neutralizes people, it paralyzes people,” LaTosha Brown, cofounder of Black Voters Matter, a grass-roots organization dedicated to protecting voter rights, increasing registration, and fighting voter suppression in communities of color, said in an interview.
The lack of logic on display here is nearly as stunning as the faulty assumptions on which it’s based. First of all, the author and the “expert” activists she quotes both take the usual path of conflating the word “immigrants” with illegal immigrants. Then, just for good measure, they toss in “communities of color,” which is completely irrelevant to the subject at hand.
There is only one “community” that could hypothetically have some credible fear about filling out a citizenship question on the census and that would be the tens of millions of illegal aliens currently residing in our country. If you are an immigrant who came here legally and is now either a naturalized citizen or legal permanent resident with a visa, green card or other valid documents, you have absolutely nothing to fear in declaring your citizenship status.
Similarly, your race is completely irrelevant to your citizenship status. We have tens of millions of citizens and legal alien residents of every race you can name. There are also illegal aliens of all stripes. This race-baiting and fearmongering is sadly typical of liberal media outlets, while also being so pervasive that it’s almost taken for granted.
As I said, the only people with a hypothetical reason to fear filling it out are illegal aliens. And whether you like it or not, they should be afraid. They are in the country in violation of the law and subject to detention and removal at any time if they are detected. That’s how the rule of law works, folks.
On top of that, as I mentioned repeatedly, this is only a hypothetical scenario. Even if the citizenship question had been added, it was being done in a way that kept all of the census data from immigration enforcement officials. There were never going to be any new raids on illegal aliens based on what was entered on the forms.
Graham also ignores the fact that the citizenship question has been asked on the long-form in every census in the modern era with one exception. That form goes out to literally tens of millions of people across all communities. But you’ll notice that nobody complained about it for all those decades. It was only when the Bad Orange Man was in favor of expanding it to the short form that it became “sinister.”
Graham is correct about one thing, however. There is most certainly a “culture of fear” being created surrounding this issue. But it’s the author and her liberal enablers who are doing it. By spreading malarkey like this (hat tip to Uncle Joe) around in minority communities, they are creating the false impression that the government is up to something and providing an incentive for Black and Hispanic citizens and legal residents to toss their forms in the trash. That’s not just illegal, but it also produces precisely the effect that Graham is decrying. It will result in an undercount of minorities and dilute both their representation in Congress and federal funds allocated to their communities.
Great job publishing this, Boston Globe. You’re guilty of precisely what you falsely accuse the President of attempting.