Arizona Lawmaker Wants The State To Have Its Own Census Excluding Illegal Immigrants

Arizona Lawmaker Wants The State To Have Its Own Census Excluding Illegal Immigrants

By Staff Reporter |

State Rep. Justin Heap (R-LD10) wants Arizona to conduct its own census excluding illegal immigrants.

Heap proposed the plan through his resolution for a ballot proposal, HCR2058. The resolution would enable the state to have its Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) or a legislative designee conduct a state census in years ending in zero in order to create legislative districts of equal citizen population. The resolution passed the House last month along party lines and is now working its way through the Senate, with Senate Appropriations scheduled to review the resolution on Tuesday.

“The United States Supreme Court has declined to limit redistricting methods to any single specific population metric and has expressly recognized the permissibility of drawing districts on the basis of eligible voter populations,” states the resolution. “An Arizona specific decennial census of the citizen population will ensure that redistricting determinations are predicated on accurate and current data.”

Should the IRC not complete the state census by Dec. 31 of any year ending in zero, then the IRC would use data from the Census Bureau or a successor agency to determine citizen populations of each legislative district. The resolution would also grant authority to any lawmaker to initiate an action or proceeding to ensure the IRC’s completion of the census and legislative district mapping.

During the House floor vote last month, Heap emphasized that the ballot proposal wouldn’t bind the state to conducting its own census. 

“It doesn’t require that we conduct a census: if we don’t either for budgetary reasons or logistical reasons we don’t feel that we can conduct the census on a statewide level, then we just default to the federal as we’ve always done,” said Heap. 

Heap further explained during the initial House committee hearing on the bill last month that the federal census has presented a “growing problem” of abstaining from asking about citizenship status. 

The Census Bureau didn’t ask about citizenship status in the 2020 Census, after the Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to include the question on the form. As a result, the bureau has confirmed that both citizens and illegal immigrants are included in the resident population for the census.

Last year, the Census Bureau announced it would test-run questions about sexual orientation and gender identity in its American Community Survey beginning this year. 

Heap blamed the federal government’s alleged poor census-taking for the state not earning its highly anticipated tenth congressional seat in 2020.

“It was widely seen that Arizona was undercounted by the census, resulting in the loss of us receiving another vote,” said Heap. “It’s also widely known that California has two to three additional representative seats in the House that they should not have because noncitizens in California are being counted.”

Heap dismissed the concerns of the cost to the state. He referenced the cost of the last federal census, about $14 billion, for the entire country as indicative that a single-state census wouldn’t cost too much.  

“Arizona can do it better, if we choose to,” said Heap. 

Last year, Heap posted on X that census records have likely underreported the illegal immigrant population.

“[T]he U.S. census is not the reliable source in determining the undocumented population because that population avoids contact with government and do not cooperate with the census,” said Heap. “So the reported [illegal immigrant] pollution in any census record is just an estimate and is more likely to be heavily under reported.”

Heap also claimed that illegal immigrants usually don’t speak with census workers.

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Redistricting Commission Seeks Public Input As First Set Of Maps Slated For Release

Redistricting Commission Seeks Public Input As First Set Of Maps Slated For Release

By Terri Jo Neff |

The boundaries of Arizona’s 30 legislative districts and 9 congressional districts are redrawn from scratch every 10 years based on U.S. Census population data. The task belongs to the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC).

With the census data finally released last month, the IRC’s first mapping activity is to create Grid Maps showing the districts with equal population without regard to any other issues. Those Grid Maps are expected to be presented Tuesday when the IRC’s two Democrats, two Republicans, and Independent chairperson meets at 8 a.m. The public is invited to watch live at

The commissioners have the option of adopting the Grid Maps during the meeting. Those maps will be followed in a few weeks by Draft Maps and then Final Maps by year-end.

Another IRC activity is to seek citizen feedback, which is one reason the same mapping software tool and database will be available to the public. A training session on the mapping tool will livestreamed Monday at 10 a.m., with a recording of the training posted on the IRC website on Tuesday.

Arizona voters passed Prop 106 in November 2000 to amend the Arizona Constitution by removing state lawmakers the power to draw state legislative and congressional legislative districts. The districts are to have equivalent population “to the extent practicable” in order to follow the one-person, one-vote premise of Arizona election law.

For the soon to be created legislative districts, that comes out to about 238,00 residents per district. Each congressional district would have about 794,000 residents.

However, each final district map may have populations which vary by several thousands due to the other five areas the IRC must consider: district shape, the federal Voting Rights Act, geographical features, potential competitiveness, and respect for communities of interest.

Steve Gaynor of Fair Maps Arizona is excited for the release of the Grid Maps, as they will show where Arizona’s nearly 12 percent population growth over the last decade has occurred.

“The Grid Maps are the first time we will see exactly how our population has changed,” he told AZ Free News. “We will see significant population growth, especially in metropolitan areas, and a few areas that have declined.”

Gaynor, a 2022 Republican gubernatorial candidate, founded Fair Maps Arizona in advance of this year’s redistricting effort due to concerns the previous IRC drew maps which did not follow the Arizona Constitution. He believes it is important for citizens to understand and participate in the IRC process, which Gaynor calls a “vital process in maintaining our democracy.”

That participation can involve expressing comments or concerns to the IRC in writing or at public hearings.

“I think individual comments to the IRC are important and do make a difference,” Gaynor said. “Of the six constitutional requirements for redistricting, the requirement to respect communities of interest is the most subjective, which is why hearing from people about it is so important. I think the commissioners will produce better maps as a result of having heard directly from the people.”

The IRC will conduct public hearings later this month about the Grid Maps. Those hearings will be the second time commissioners involved in the 2021 redistricting will hear from the public.

Earlier this summer, IRC commissioners took part in 15 public hearings about how the requirement of communities of interest should be considered. Gaynor said he was impressed that the commissioners took the time to travel across the state to hear from people on the subject.

“The commissioners listened carefully to the testimony and asked good questions,” he said. “They were clearly engaged with the people testifying.”

More information about the IRC process can be found at