Stop Allowing Noncitizens To Determine Congressional and Presidential Representation

COMMENTARY Immigration

Stop Allowing Noncitizens To Determine Congressional and Presidential Representation

Feb 8, 2024 3 min read

Commentary By

Lora Ries @lora_ries

Director, Border Security and Immigration Center

RJ Hauman

Founder and Principal of Stryker Strategies LLC and a Visiting Advisor at The Heritage Foundation

The open border has enabled the Left to amass more political power. ANDREY DENISYUK / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

Democratic-controlled states have gained congressional seats by welcoming and harboring illegal aliens.

This warped representation is carried over into the Electoral College.

Congress must put an end to the electoral influence of a growing noncitizen population.

The open border has enabled the Left to amass more political power. Democratic-controlled states have gained congressional seats by welcoming and harboring illegal aliens.

As president, Donald Trump tried to halt this wrongdoing by ordering the Census to exclude all noncitizens from apportionment. But one of President Biden’s first acts in office was to reverse this policy as he began to open the border to millions of illegal aliens.

Barring the Census from including noncitizens in apportionment is critical in making sure that American citizens—the only population who can and should vote in U.S. elections—are picking America’s leaders.

Biden’s intentional border crisis has produced unprecedented apportionment issues, distorting the representation that states have in the House, and how many electoral votes they have in presidential elections.

>>> Border and Immigration Concerns Are Deciding Elections in Europe

Congressional and Electoral College apportionment is based on the number of residents, as determined by the Census. Currently, Census includes illegal aliens and other noncitizens as residents. 

Consequently, a state can gain extra congressional districts and representation in Congress thanks to the presence of a large population that isn’t legally allowed to vote. Since the number of congressional seats is limited to 435, this additional representation comes at the expense of other states.

This warped representation is carried over into the Electoral College, where each state is allocated a number of votes equal to the number of senators and representatives in its congressional delegation.

In a 2018 lawsuit against the Census Bureau within the Commerce Department, then-Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., wrote:

In a state in which a large share of the population cannot vote, those who do vote count more than those who live in states where a larger share of the population is made up of American citizens. Counting large illegal alien populations in the Census appropriates voting power from Americans and bestows it on other[s].

Solving this flawed process is of paramount importance going into an election year.

First, excluding noncitizens—tens of millions of whom are illegal aliens—from apportionment would help discourage sanctuary policies. Sanctuary jurisdictions like California, Illinois and New York have welcomed illegal immigrants, at least in part, to keep their populations high. 

During a 2021 hearing about Haitian migrants, Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., stated that her district “can absorb a significant number of these migrants,” adding, “I need more people in my district just for redistricting purposes.”

These states need to keep their population numbers inflated with illegal aliens because Americans citizens are fleeing in droves due to their disastrous policies. Making it clear to these states and their radical governors that they won’t be able to use illegal aliens to “cook their books” to maintain disproportionate political power (and money) will go a long way toward breaking the sanctuary state trend.

Second, no longer including noncitizens in apportionment will help ensure that only American citizens will shape our political landscape and pick future leaders. Letting states include millions of aliens in their Census counts is the equivalent of letting foreign countries determine the political destiny of the United States, which is unacceptable.

>>> Why Biden’s Support Among Hispanics Is Tanking—Here’s a Hint: The Border Crisis

To address this issue and restore trust in the electoral process, Congress should pass legislation to ensure that all future apportionment determinations only include American citizens. 

A Senate bill to do just that was recently unveiled by Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., and 20 of his colleagues, followed by a House companion led by Reps. Chuck Edwards, R-N.C., and Warren Davidsonx, R-Ohio, that is gaining steam. If passed into law, this would likely end up before the Supreme Court, but it is on firm legal footing.

The Constitution requires the counting of “persons,” who the Founding Fathers almost certainly assumed to be citizens. Regardless of history or tradition, Congress has the plenary authority to define “persons” or otherwise clarify how the Census is to be conducted. 

To the extent past federal cases disagree with Congress on this point, Congress can effectively overrule case law and define “persons” as citizens and require the counting of only citizens in the Census (or the non-counting of noncitizens) for apportionment. 

U.S. citizenship should mean something and come with rights, such as voting in elections, as well as responsibilities, such as obeying our laws.

Congress must put an end to the electoral influence of a growing noncitizen population that is unfairly altering both representation in the House and the Electoral College. American citizens should not have their voting rights devalued or their congressional and presidential representation corrupted due to the inclusion of noncitizens in our Census.

This piece originally appeared in Fox News

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