Census 2010 and Illegal Immigrants

Written by Jeff Johnson on October 15, 2009. Posted in General

County will Count Illegal Immigrants in 2010 Census

Shortly after I took office in January of this year, I had a meeting with a couple of Hennepin County employees who were working on a program to promote the 2010 U. S. Census. Encouraging everyone in the county to fill out the census form was more crucial this year than ever before, I was told, as the population numbers derived from the 2010 Census would determine representation for Minnesota in Congress, and there has been talk that Minnesota could lose one congressional seat after the census numbers come in.

In addition, the census numbers will used to set state legislative boundaries and allocate representation in the Minnesota legislature.

The Hennepin County program is focused heavily on encouraging the immigrant population in Minneapolis and the inner-ring suburbs to fill out the census form.

During my briefing, I became a bit concerned that this emphasis might be, for some, an opportunity to include illegal immigrants in the census count and, thereby, skew representation in both Congress and the state legislature toward those areas with the highest illegal immigrant population. Based on my concern, I asked whether this county program might create a risk that we will be counting illegal immigrants in the census.

My question was met with a quizzical stare and the following (paraphrased) answer: “Of course we count illegal immigrants – we always have. Why wouldn’t we?”

Since then I have come to learn that the U.S. Census requires that everyone be counted for representation purposes – regardless of whether they are in the United States legally or not.

There is an amendment scheduled to be heard soon in the U.S. Senate that would exclude illegal immigrants from the population count in the 2010 Census. Conventional wisdom says that it will not pass, but it should.

Unless that unlikely law change occurs, Hennepin County – and every other county in the United States – will be counting everyone as a citizen, including those who really are not.

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