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Civil Rights Groups Oppose Citizenship Question and Changes to Apportionment Base 

74 civil rights groups warn about constitutional and practical problems with House bill

Leading civil rights organizations and good government groups are pressing the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Accountability to oppose the Equal Representation Act (H.R. 7109), a bill proposing to add a citizenship question to the 2030 Census and to exclude non-citizens from the national head count used to apportion the House. In a letter to Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) and Ranking Member Jamie Raskin (D-MD), the 74 signatories – which include the Brennan Center for Justice – detailed the serious constitutional and practical problems with the bill.

As the letter explains, the proposal to exclude noncitizens from the apportionment count violates the Fourteenth Amendment, which requires a count of all persons living in the country. As a result, H.R. 1709 effectively proposes to amend the Constitution through legislation, in violation of the amendment process set forth in Article V.

The letter goes on to explain that the bill would threaten the success of future censuses by undermining the Census Bureau’s ability to collect accurate population counts, because including a citizenship question on the census would dissuade non-citizens from being counted.

Updated Final Hr 7109 Sign On by The Brennan Center for Justice