Kris Kobach is using the Census to hasten Kansas’ political decline

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Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state known for his anti-immigration activism, is quoted in a New York Times story that describes his lobbying for a 2020 Census question to determine which US residents are citizens. This, I think, is very interesting:

In the email to Mr. Ross, Mr. Kobach urged the addition of the question, saying that including undocumented immigrants in the decennial count of the United States population would, among other things, lead to the problem “that aliens who do not actually ‘reside’ in the United States are still counted for congressional apportionment purposes.”

I’ll leave the citizenship question alone for now, except to note that its inclusion in the 2020 Census is opposed by nearly everyone but Kobach types. Here is what I find interesting:

• Kobach is running for Kansas governor.

• Kansas population is growing so slowly, the state might lose a congressional seat after the Census. But it might not.

• A big reason Kansas’ population has grown in recent Censuses (Censi?) is the rise of non-citizen immigrants, mostly those who work for meat-packing plants in the southwest part of the state.

Between 2000 and 2010, for example, the state’s population grew by 165,000 residents. Nearly 112,000 of those new residents were Hispanic.

Lose them, and there’s a much bigger chance Kansas loses a congressional seat.

Maybe that should happen anyway: There’s a democratic argument that political power should move, like people, to the cities and away from rural areas — and the fact it hasn’t is one reason we now have Donald Trump for president.

But it’s weird for a man who would be Kansas governor to offer arguments that would, on their face, hasten the state’s political decline. I guess Kobach is consistent in his anti-immigrant fervor, which props for intellectual honesty. But that fervor now appears likely to come at the expense of the state he seeks to govern. It’s an odd decision.

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