FIRST ON FOX: Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., will introduce legislation next week that would put a citizenship question on the census to prevent non-citizens from being counted for congressional apportionment — amid a surge of migrants in recent years due to the ongoing border crisis.
The Equal Representation Act, a draft of which was obtained by Fox News Digital, would require a citizenship question to be put on the decennial census asking whether the respondent is a citizen, a resident non-citizen or an illegal immigrant.
The bill would then require that the census not count those who are non-citizens for the apportionment of congressional districts. Currently, all people who take the census, including resident non-citizens and illegal immigrants, are counted for redistricting.
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Migrants attempt to cross into the U.S. from Mexico at the border December 17, 2023, in Jacumba Hot Springs, California. Asylum seekers are stuck in makeshift camps in the extreme climate of the U.S-Mexico border. (Photo by Nick Ut/Getty Images)
It would apply to the census conducted in 2030 and beyond.
The bill comes amid long-standing concerns from Republicans that Democrats will benefit electorally from a surge in illegal immigrants into the country, who then will often flock to liberal areas with broad social services and right-to-shelter laws and sanctuary policies that prevent cooperation with federal immigration enforcement.
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Former President Donald Trump had tried to include a citizenship question on the census but had been rebuked by the Supreme Court, saying the reasoning was insufficient. Trump had considered using an executive order to put the question on the census, but ultimately it went ahead without one.
“Think about it, $15-20 billion [on a census], and you’re not allowed to ask if someone’s a citizen,” he said at the time.
The question has re-emerged with the massive number of migrants coming through into the U.S. due to the current border crisis, with many flooding to cities like New York City and Chicago. States like California also have their numbers bolstered potentially by larger numbers of illegal immigrants.
There were over 2.4 million migrant encounters in FY 23. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has said that over a million people have been released into the U.S., and he recently told Border Patrol agents that they have been releasing over 85% of migrants into the interior.
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Comments by Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-NY, went viral recently when she said, “I need more people in my district just for redistricting purposes” and drew the attention of commentators including X CEO Elon Musk.
This week, similar legislation was introduced in the House as part of a package of legislation from Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont.