I have read and re-read Attorney General Steve Marshall’s opinion column in the July 10 edition of the Tribune.
He argues that it will be unfair to states like Alabama with relatively low numbers of unauthorized aliens compared to states like California, Texas and Florida (the top three in terms of numbers of illegal immigrants) if illegal immigrants are counted in the 2020 census.
Mr. Marshall’s first problem is with constitutionality.
This is not a new issue. In August 2009, Myrna Pérez, writing for the Brennan Center for Justice, (https://www.brennancenter.org/blog/accounting-census-clause) explains how our understanding of the enumeration clause has evolved.
All residents of the United States are to be counted in the census.
Not just legal residents, not just citizens, not just white persons.
Our state’s attorney general should know better.
Noting that of the states that have shown an increase in population recently, Alabama ranks near the bottom, barely better than states that have lost population. (We always have Mississippi.)
If we want our state to preserve its representation in Congress, perhaps a better idea would be to make it a more attractive place to live.
One idea might be to improve our rankings in quality of healthcare, quality of infrastructure and quality of education. Perhaps we could seriously address our recurrent problems with corruption in government.
Perhaps our state senate and legislature could spend more time writing laws that address the quality of life in Alabama than spending endless time writing abortion bans that will cost us taxpayers to defend in the courts.
Instead of whining about the advantage other states have over Alabama because of their illegal residents, perhaps we could do more to increase our own numbers of legal residents.