More Illegal Immigrants, More Seats in Congress?

Rep. Candice Miller, Washington Post, September 11, 2007

The Sept. 6 editorial “Count Them In” played down the effect that illegal immigration has on congressional apportionment and the damage it does to fair representation for American citizens.

Every Election Day, noncitizens infringe on the right to proper and proportional representation for U.S. citizens as a result of the 14th Amendment, which requires that those in our country illegally be counted when seats are apportioned for Congress.

I have introduced H.J. Res. 6 to correct this technical error by replacing the word “persons” in the amendment with “citizens.” This would give American citizens, both native born and naturalized, fairer representation. The Census Bureau would still conduct a complete count of all people in the United States, but only the number of citizens in each state would be used for apportionment.

States with large populations of illegal immigrants receive a disproportionate number of seats in the House of Representatives because noncitizens are included with citizens. For example, Montana has one representative for a population of about 895,000 citizens. The 34th District of California has one representative but fewer than 420,000 citizens.

Policies emerging from the debate on illegal immigration must reflect the will of U.S. citizens and should not be affected by those here unlawfully.

Candice Miller, a Republican, represents Michigan’s tenth district in Congress.

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