The Center for American Progress applauds the Senate for effectively ending debate on a proposal by Senators David Vitter (R-LA) and Robert Bennett (R-UT) that would have undermined a fundamental principle of our Constitution.
In a procedural vote on the Commerce-Justice-Science funding bill, the Senate blocked further consideration of the divisive Vitter-Bennett proposal that would have required the Census Bureau to add to the 2010 Census a question on whether or not the respondent is a U.S. citizen in order to only count citizens when new House districts are reapportioned.
Besides the extra $1 billion it would have cost to include the question and reprint the surveys so close to the April 2010 Census, the Vitter-Bennett amendment was politically divisive and would have disenfranchised millions of people—naturalized citizens and immigrants—who are entitled to be counted under our system of government, including for the purpose of dividing up the population into congressional districts.
“Instead of beginning a serious and intelligent discussion about how to deal with immigration reform, some lawmakers are intent on demonizing immigrants and destroying the integrity of the census process. It’s ugly political gamesmanship at the expense of all Americans,” said Angela M. Kelley, Vice President for Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress.
“The Constitution is clear that all persons are to be counted. We expect that this vote has ended the debate [on the amendment] once and for all,” Kelley said.