Those political leaders who have declared their states and cities are sanctuaries for illegal aliens have a political motivation to act in this manner.

I have no doubt that many of the people who are in favor of offering safety and comfort to illegal aliens are motivated by a concern for their fellow human beings, regardless of their immigration status. I include elected politicians and appointed government officials among this group of people.

Someone can be acting on principle and have it benefit them, too. People in politics are particularly good at supporting an issue that benefits the folks who elected them or potentially will elect them. They believe in the issue and the issue benefits them because it benefits the people who will keep them in power. There is nothing nefarious or underhanded in this arrangement, unless there is outright bribery or a provable quid pro quo between individuals.

The politics of sanctuary cities and states benefit the politicians who are currently championing it. In 2020, the United States will conduct the census count to determine the population of the country by totaling up the population counts in each of the 50 states in our union. The census counts every single person in the state. American citizens, legal immigrants, and illegal aliens are all treated equally by the census.

When a city or a state offers sanctuary to illegal immigrants, it has the possible effect of raising the population in that location. Raising the population is key to maximizing the number of people counted in the census.

The results of the census are used to determine how many members a state has in the United States House of Representatives for a decade. The higher the population, the more seats in Congress a state will have, and therefore the more political opportunities for politicians and more federal dollars for the state to spend.

A great way to attract people living illegally in the United States to a state for the 2020 census is to offer them protection from deportation. Given the choice between living in fear and living in comfort, the vast majority will seek the latter. It is only human nature, and most illegal aliens are here already because they are fleeing poor conditions.

In Massachusetts, there are at least eight sanctuary cities including Boston, Newton, Somerville, and Amherst. After the last census, Massachusetts lost a seat in Congress and a vote in the Electoral College because of a drop in population compared to other states. Swelling the roles of the census count may prevent another loss for the all-Democrat congressional delegation from Massachusetts.

One has to wonder what happens to the illegal aliens lured by the promise of political protection after the 2020 census is in the books.

Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at chris.mccarthy@townsquaremedia.com and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.