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Mr. Speaker, under the United States Constitution, article I, section 2, it states that every 10 years there will be a counting of the people. The purposes are twofold: One, to levy direct taxes, and second, to find out how many people live in the United States so that Members of Congress can be apportioned percentage-wise based on population. That is the purpose of the census, and it's a good purpose. Next year we will have another undertaking of the census, of the counting of the people in the United States.
But also, independent of the census, there is a survey that is being taken, given, rather, to American citizens, 3 million next year and 3 million every year. Now, I want to make it clear that this is not the census, but this is a system of surveying the American people, and it just so happens that today I got one of these surveys. It's labeled from the United States Department of Commerce, the Census Bureau, and it's the American Community Survey, and it says, Your response is required by law.
You open this document, you get a lot of paperwork. You get several documents that say you have to fill this out or by penalty of law if you don't, but you get the survey. Mr. Speaker, the American Community Survey is 28 pages. If a person receives one of these and doesn't fill it out, you've violated Federal law.
Now, the survey contains a lot of information that makes me wonder, Why does the Federal Government even want this information? Why should the Federal Government even have this information?
And here's some of the questions that it asks: the value of your residence, how much you pay monthly for your residence on your mortgage, how many rooms in your house, how many toilets are in your house, what kind of vehicles do you drive. I guess they want to know how many pickups are in Texas.
Do you have a stove? a refrigerator? What type of fuel do you use? How much does it cost you each month to use that fuel? How much does each person in the household or in the residence, rather, make? What is their income? Where do they work? What do they do? How long have they done that? What is the cost of the mortgage? What is the cost of health insurance for each person, and what is the cost of taxes in the house? And it goes on and on and on, 28 pages, required by Federal law under the American Community Survey Act.
I won't go into all the questions because I don't have time, but I'd like to mention one more. One question is, each person has to answer this question, because of a physical, mental or emotional condition, does the person have trouble concentrating, remembering, or making decisions?
Now, should the Federal Government have that information? And why should a person in the residence make that determination about themselves and then have to answer that question for everybody else in the residence?
I certainly hope they're all getting along well.
It also asks, because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, does the person have difficulty dressing, doing errands, difficulty shopping? And it goes on and on and on, Mr. Speaker.
Back in 2007, two historians found some old documents from the Department of Commerce archives and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library. These documents confirmed for the first time that the Census Bureau turned over information to incarcerate over 100,000 individual Japanese Americans after the Pearl Harbor attack. This information was reported by USA Today. The Census Bureau information made it all possible. Of course, the Census Bureau has denied that it gave that information. But be it as it may, it was legal in 1940.
In 1942, documents proved the Census Bureau turned over these addresses of the Japanese Americans to the War Department. In 1943, they turned over their financial information to the Department of the Treasury.
This was all nice and legal in the War Powers Act of 1940. It was legal, but it wasn't ethical, and we know what happened to 100,000 Japanese Americans. They were interned. The point is this, Mr. Speaker. This should be voluntary. If United States citizens want to give all of this information to the Federal Government so the Federal Government can have a file on everybody, then they should be allowed to do that, I guess, but it shouldn't be required by law. That is why I've introduced legislation to allow citizens not to fill this document out if they don't want to, because it invades, in my opinion, their personal privacy rights.
Once again, I'm not talking about the census. I am talking about the survey that is being required by law to be sent out. People down in southeast Texas, people who live in Cut and Shoot, Texas, for example, shouldn't be required to fill this information out. It violates their privacy. It's too much government. It may be well-intended, but the Federal Government should not have this information, and we as Members of Congress should allow this information to be, not required, but voluntarily given by the people of the United States.
And that's just the way it is.CLICK HER TO WATCH