2010 Census May Reduce Pennsylvania's Representation in Congress
Reapportionment Shifts Seats to States With Growing Number of Noncitizens
WASHINGTON, Oct. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- According to projections by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Pennsylvania will likely lose one of its 19 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives if noncitizens continue to be included in the reapportionment process based on the decennial Census. Currently, reapportionment of House seats is based on the total number of residents counted in the Census, whether citizens or noncitizens. Consequently, as Western and Southern states have experienced a large increase in their noncitizen populations, they have received more seats while other states have lost seats. The same is true for seats in the Electoral College used for presidential elections.
A Senate amendment to the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Bill to fund the Census Bureau would begin the process to prevent noncitizens from skewing the apportionment of congressional representation, but the measure is being blocked by Majority Leader Harry Reid. The amendment offered by Senators David Vitter (R-La.) and Bob Bennett (R-Utah) would require that a question about citizenship and immigration status be included on all 2010 Census forms. This would create a more accurate count of noncitizens, provide solid evidence showing the impact they have on the distribution of House seats, and pave the way for reapportionment reform that protects the representation of citizens.
"It is fundamentally unfair that citizens in some parts of the country are being denied representation in Congress, while other states increase their representation because of the presence of large numbers of noncitizens," said Dan Stein, president of FAIR. "This transfer of political representation has been growing in recent Census-based reapportionments. Often, the states increasing their political clout, are the same states that have policies in place that attract large numbers of illegal aliens. It's perverse logic to reward the states that pander to illegal aliens and penalize states that don't."
"The Census should count everyone, because it is important to know how many people are living in the country and where they reside. But representation in Congress should be reserved for citizens of the U.S., as the constitution intended," Stein said.
A 1964 Supreme Court decision, Reynolds v. Sims, affirmed that the principle of "one man, one vote" required that legislative districts should be roughly equal. In that decision, Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote, "[T]o the extent that a citizen's right to vote is debased, he is that much less of a citizen."
"We urge Senators Arlen Specter and Bob Casey to defend the right of Pennsylvanians to be fully represented in Congress for the next decade and to be allocated their full share of electoral votes in presidential elections," continued Stein. "It is critical that Pennsylvania's two senators demand that Majority Leader Reid allow a vote on the Vitter-Bennett amendment, making it possible to ensure that everyone is counted, but that only citizens determine how political representation is apportioned."
Founded in 1979, FAIR is the country's largest immigration reform group. With over 250,000 members nationwide, FAIR fights for immigration policies that serve national interests, not special interests. FAIR believes that immigration reform must enhance national security, improve the economy, protect jobs, preserve our environment, and establish a rule of law that is recognized and enforced.
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