The 2010 Census will count all people living in the United States, including immigrants who are not citizens.
Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) proposed an amendement last month that would have required the Census Bureau to ask whether people were in the country illegally, and would have excluded illegal immigrants from the population counts.
Senate Democrats blocked the proposal this afternoon in a 60-39 vote. More from the AP:
WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats Thursday blocked a GOP attempt to require next year’s census forms to ask people whether they are U.S. citizens.
The proposal by Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter was aimed at excluding immigrants from the population totals that are used to figure the number of congressional representatives for each state. Critics said Vitter’s plan would discourage immigrants from responding to the census and would be hugely expensive. They also said that it’s long been settled law that the apportionment of congressional seats is determined by the number of people living in each state, regardless of whether they are citizens. A separate survey already collects the data.
Census data is also used to distribute billions of dollars in federal aid.
“The current plan is to reapportion House seats using that overall number, citizens and noncitizens,” Vitter said. “I think that’s wrong. I think that’s contrary to the whole intent of the Constitution and the establishment of Congress as a democratic institution to represent citizens.”
If Vitter were successful — and if noncitizens were excluded from the census count for congressional apportionment — states with fewer immigrants would fare significantly better in the upcoming allocation of House seats.
State such as California and Texas would fare worse than they would under the current way of allocating seats, which under the Constitution is based on the “whole number of persons” residing in a state.