GOP to Biden: Come to Your Census

January 22, 2021

Joe Biden hasn't said where he stands on packing the courts, but we know one thing he's willing to pack: Congress. While most people were focused on Biden's big-ticket actions on Wednesday, things like rejoining the Paris Climate Accord and transgendering America's bathrooms, the new president managed to slip one order through that could tilt the balance of the House and Electoral College for years. If you didn't care about Census policy before, trust me. You care about it now.

It was a stealthy move, adding a major Census change to Biden's stack of executive orders. The last thing Democrats want to do after the November election is draw more attention to how they're systematically changing the process. And frankly, before now, most Americans probably had no idea how important the population count is to their political representation. Thanks to the Biden administration, they're about to learn.

The radical Center for American Progress called what the president did "setting up the Census to succeed." In reality, Biden was doing something quite different. He was setting up Democrats to succeed. In his first few hours as president, Biden rolled back Donald Trump's policy and added illegal immigrants back into the Census count. Some of you are probably wondering, what's the big deal? Well, the big deal is that what Biden just did is give millions of people who broke the law a voice in the political process.

Every 10 years, our country uses those Census numbers to redraw congressional lines. It's all based on population. And when you include illegal immigrants, as Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) pointed out on "Washington Watch," you're rewarding the states where most of these undocumented people live. "I think the Republicans were very clear, and majority of Americans were very clear. We don't feel like people who are in the United States illegally should be counted towards congressional reapportionment." Just think about liberal states like California, he said. "There are estimated 2.2 million illegals living in California. That's three [more] congressional districts." And if you didn't count the illegals for congressional reapportionment, that's three less seats in California. It's a significant shift either way.

Comer, like a lot of Americans, strongly believes, "It's not right to reward states like California, who completely ignore our immigration laws, who have sanctuary cities, and use taxpayer dollars to welcome illegals into their state." And, let's not forget, Comer warned, "that gives them more Electoral College votes" too.

"What Joe Biden did yesterday by executive order is something that the Republicans on the House Oversight Committee have been adamantly against for over a year," Comer explained. Think about where those California seats would come from, he said. Most likely, they'd be siphoned off from conservative red states, where illegal immigrants don't inflate their population. "You're going to see states like Alabama and West Virginia... Bible-belt states that are going to lose congressional seats. So they're being punished, because they abide by our immigration laws. But states like California, who completely disregard them, are being rewarded."

Changing the Census is a very consequential and serious move. "Those types of things can determine who controls Congress," Comer warned. And, as the Kentucky Republican pointed out, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) only won her speakership this year by four votes. "So three seats in California could be the difference, possibly, in someone like Pelosi being elected speaker."

The last thing any congressman wants to see, Comer insisted, are the blue, liberal states "that are completely turning their nose up at the Constitution [and] doing things on a daily basis to attract illegals into this country, get rewarded with congressional reappointments, and we get punished. It's just not fair."

But fortunately, despite this sneak attack on representative democracy, Biden doesn't hold all the cards. Thanks to the GOP's overwhelming gains in statehouses last November, conservatives will have a major role in drawing the next district lines. "Republicans," the FiveThirtyEight explains, "won almost every election where redistricting was at stake." They won the power "to maximize the number of districts that favor their party... Both parties went into the election with a chance to draw more congressional districts than the other, but the end result was just about the best-case scenario for Republicans. As the map [here] shows, Republicans are set to control the redistricting of 188 congressional seats -- 43 percent of the entire House of Representatives."

Also, and state attorneys general have alluded to this, what Biden did by undermining legal citizens in the Census should be open to litigation. The AGs who've banded together to fight the assaults on their states will probably view this as an attack on their federal funding and representation in Congress. If they choose to, they could challenge the order.

Either way, it's already obvious that Biden is no Uniter-in-Chief. Immediately after his inauguration speech, where he invoked St. Augustine and Martin Luther King, Jr., he went back to the White House and violated every principle those great leaders stood for. Then he made it clear to half the nation with this Census order that he has no interest in a fair election process. On day one, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell shook his head, this administration "took several big steps in the wrong direction." It's time for Biden to "refocus his administration," McConnell warned, and stop sacrificing our country to "liberal symbolism." Otherwise, the scars that these last several months have left are only the beginning.