Fifth Congressional District U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx introduced a bill Wednesday in Congress that would require the Census Bureau to make a determination as to the number of illegal immigrants present in the country as part of its findings in the decennial census.
Foxx, a Republican, said the bill — called the Fairness in Representation Act (H.R. 3797) — addresses a glitch in the census, which currently does not distinguish between undocumented immigrants and those who are in the country legally.
“Accurately counting the number of illegal immigrants in our country is a matter of equity and justice for American citizens and those legally present in the U.S.,” Foxx said in a press release. “This bill is a common sense proposal to require the Census Bureau to ask about citizenship status on the same census form that already asks recipients’ race, age, and sex.”
Foxx’s legislation aims to prevent what she says could be unfair distortions in the distribution of House of Representative seats among the 50 states caused by populations of illegal immigrants in certain areas.
She said that by counting illegal immigrants, the Census Bureau will be able to provide accurate data for the reapportionment and redistricting process.
Without the information, some states will receive fewer congressional representatives than they should due to other states’ higher illegal immigrant population, Foxx said.
“The census is a linchpin in the proper functioning of America’s democratic and legislative process,” Foxx said. “Ensuring that the final tally is accurate and fair will mean everyone’s vote counts equally after congressional districts are redrawn in the coming years.”
Senators David Vitter (R-La.) and Robert Bennett (R-Utah) recently introduced an amendment to a Senate appropriations bill that would bar funding for the Census Bureau unless it adds questions about immigration and citizenship status to the census survey.
A summary of H.R. 3797 as taken from a draft of the bill is as follows:
“To prevent congressional reapportionment distortions by requiring that, in the questionnaires used in the taking of any decennial census of population, a checkbox or other similar option be included for respondents to indicate citizenship status or lawful presence in the United States.”
Foxx’s press secretary, Aaron Groen, said if both bills pass their respective chambers they will be joined in committee and sent to President Barack Obama to either be signed into law or vetoed.