Today, Alabama’s Attorney General Steve Marshall and Representative Mo Brooks filed a lawsuit regarding the residency rule that is based on the 2020 census, claiming that including undocumented immigrants in the count would shift the apportionment to favor areas with more non-citizen residents.
While we agree that the immigration question is ill advised for other reasons, Marshall and Brooks are assuming that all individuals who select the “non-U.S. citizen” option are undocumented aliens. This clearly overlooks the many people in Alabama and beyond who are legally here on visas or as permanent residents, and who are members of our communities. Assuming all non-citizens are here illegally is a troubling attitude that people without citizenship status do not deserve to be included in our society.
Furthermore, the claim that counting non-citizens would change anything regarding the number of seats shows a misunderstanding of how the census works. Without the citizenship question, non-citizens would still complete the census but there would be no data on citizenship status. However, with the question, it is more likely to deter immigrants and other non-citizens from answering the census at all, therefore suppressing their reported population, for fear of being targeted by the current administration’s anti-immigrant policies.