EDITORIAL: Hidalgo Co officials must sue to block Census citizenship question

Last Tuesday, Hidalgo County Commissioners rightly voted to approve a resolution condemning the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census and called on the Trump administration and Congress to remove any such question.

As we have stated before, the Constitution calls for a Census to get a count of the populous; it does not specify that only U.S. citizens are to be counted, but rather that everyone living within the United States borders should be documented.

The decennial Census data is extremely important and is used to draw congressional lines, and for federal and state formula funding.

Introducing a controversial question, such as citizenship, especially in the Rio Grande Valley where many undocumented immigrants reside, will undoubtedly have negative results. Many here won’t respond and it could cost our region millions of dollars in money for education, health care, Medicare, Medicaid, housing, schools, CHIP and Head Start programs.

For every person not counted, Hidalgo County will lose out on $1,578; that’s $15,780 in a decade or $157 million for 10,000 people.

“This is a very basic issue. Our government divides up all the entitlement funds based on population and under our Constitution everyone who is residing in this country needs to be counted,” Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia said Tuesday.

Having been severely undercounted in 2000 and 2010 — by hundreds of thousands of people — we urge Hidalgo County Commissioners today to vote to join a multi-state lawsuit to block the Trump administration from applying this question to the upcoming Census. Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, Seattle, as well as the city and county of San Francisco have all joined the suit. Hidalgo County, which has so much to lose, must join as a plaintiff and show the nation how South Texas would be adversely affected by this ill-proposed question.

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