The Census

Last week, the Trump Administration announced it will add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, a question that has been absent from the survey for 70 years.

The census, mandated by the Constitution to occur every ten years, determines the number of congressional seats each state gets. The information also guides federal spending based on population and need. If immigrants – and family members of immigrants – feel threatened and don’t participate in the Census, already under-represented communities will suffer even more.

And states with large immigrant populations, such as Texas, will lose out on representation and federal funding.  With 5 million immigrants, more than half of whom are not citizens, Texas will pay a very heavy price.

In a very pointed opinion piece published Monday, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Editorial Board spelled it out:

“The census is a deciding factor in distributing hundreds of billions of dollars in federal spending for Medicaid, food assistance, housing and other services. Any undercount of our population robs Texas of its fair share of federal funding for these critical programs.

“An undercount may also steal from Texas’ considerable political clout as the state gets ready for political redistricting, a process called reapportionment. Currently, Texas’s Washington delegation numbers 36. Whether we gain additional seats in Congress will be based on an accurate count.”

I would add that for every potential new congressional seat we don’t get, we also lose an electoral vote, reducing our impact in presidential elections.

So, what are our state’s Republican leaders doing about this unprecedented assault on our state?

Senator Ted Cruz celebrated the decision, even though it will hurt the very people he is supposed to represent.

Attorney General Ken Paxton actually advocated for this change before it was announced.

And Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick?  They are both quiet as mice – no doubt afraid to anger the Trump base by doing the right thing for their state.  And remember, Abbott’s the guy who used to brag about how many times he sued the Obama Administration.

As the Star-Telegram said, “It’s a bad idea for the nation. It’s especially bad for states like Texas.”

It used to be that when something was bad for Texas, our elected leaders would speak up, stand up and fight – regardless of party affiliation.  With this group of Republicans leading our state, those days seem like a distant memory.