Legislative Alert | Immigration

Letter Opposing Legislation That Would Add Citizenship Question to Census

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the 60 affiliated unions of the AFL-CIO, I urge you to oppose the deceptively named Equal Representation Act, H.R. 7109.

Adding a citizenship question to the United States census is unnecessary, discriminatory, and harmful to working people. The Constitution requires a count every ten years of all persons – not all citizens. The Supreme Court has already ruled against efforts by the previous administration to add such a question, and we should not waste further time on this issue now.

The transparent intent behind H.R. 7109 is to manipulate the system for political gain and further intimidate immigrant families. Counting every person in the country takes tremendous work, and marginalized populations are always at the greatest risk of being undercounted. Suppressing participation in the census will harm all workers by denying vibrant and diverse communities nationwide the resources and representation they deserve.

Excluding noncitizens from the Congressional apportionment calculation would directly contradict the 14th Amendment. However, this is not merely a legal issue. Our labor movement fights every day for the dignity and value of every individual, regardless of citizenship status. Denial of the personhood of immigrants would erase millions of working people’s vital contributions to our economy and our society.

Implementing this bill would jeopardize the fairness and accuracy of the census. We only get one chance every ten years to get this crucial process right. We cannot allow partisan politics to lead to decreased response rates, inaccurate data collection, and unjust allocation of power and resources.

H.R. 7109 serves an unconstitutional agenda, threatens census accuracy, and undermines fair representation. America’s unions see this bill for what it is – yet another attempt to disempower and disenfranchise working people of color in our country. We urge you to vote NO.

Jody Calemine
Director, Government Affairs