U.S. Sen. Steve Daines says that he wants to include immigrant status on the 2020 census (May 21 guest column). He believes it is a “common-sense question.” He frames it in terms of how Montana could benefit by gaining a congressional seat if including the question discourages immigrants from participating in the census in other states. Typical of the Donald Trump Republican Party, his “common sense” means “us versus them.”
It would be nice if Montana got another representative, but this is actually a complicated legal question that courts are currently addressing. The Census Bureau has taken the position in the past that questions about citizenship lead to undercounting the population, and the current anti-immigrant policies of the Trump administration make it seem likely that would happen. Daines agrees and wants this result.
Daines shows his true motivation, bigotry and ignorance in his last inflammatory sentence: “Montanans want our government to serve Montanans, not criminal illegal aliens.” In fact, the Constitution requires the census to count every resident, regardless of their immigrant status. Instead of gaming the census, Montanans should want the Trump administration to follow the law.
Montanans should be represented by someone who understands and respects the law — not Senator Daines.