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Question of the day in Louisiana: Are undocumented immigrants ‘persons’?

When I saw the headline over at Facing South, I had no idea that the nativist batsh*ttery has run off the rails into complete batsh*ttery.

The brains down in Louisiana have decided to throw a tantrum over the fact that the U.S. census attempts to count all people in the country, regardless of immigration status.

This week, the state of Louisiana filed a lawsuit which challenges the Census’ long-standing policy of counting all residents — citizens and non-citizens — and using those results to divide up seats in the U.S. Congress.

The lawsuit, which has broad implications for the political role of immigrants, comes after Louisiana lost a Congressional seat following the 2010 Census count. Thanks to the massive displacement after Hurricane Katrina — the city of New Orleans lost 30% of its population between 2000 and 2010 — Louisiana’s delegation fell from seven seats to six.

This makes no sense on any level other than Louisiana’s government likes showing its bigoted @ss to the American public. After all, the whole point of the Census is to find out changes in population, determine number of members of Congress the state will have, and a host of well, things Louisiana taxpayers would benefit from with an accurate count of human beings living in the state.

Apparently these little facts escape the state.

Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell innocently says that “Louisiana’s complaint simply asks the court to require the federal government to re-calculate the 2010 apportionment of U.S. House of Representatives seats based on legal residents.”

If the Supreme Court ruled in Louisiana’s favor, the fallout would be anything but simple. Aside from forcing 17 states to scrap their political maps on the eve of the 2012 elections, the law would fundamentally change how the Census works and immigrants are recognized in the country.

The U.S. Constitution originally said the Census should involve “counting the whole number of free persons,” which the 14th Amendment changed to “counting the whole number of persons,” including non-citizens.

Changing that mandate would be felt at every level of government and the economy. States and localities, which provide services like police, fire and medical treatment to undocumented residents, depend on billions in federal aid based on whole-person counts. Undocumented residents also paid $11.2 billion in taxes in 2010.

Would Louisiana like to send back taxes to those undocumented residents of the state, since they don’t count as “people”?

Read the rest and try to keep your jaw up off of the floor.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding