Texas, California and Florida are likely to be the state losers under a President Trump’s new policy of excluding undocumented immigrants from the count used to dole out House seats, according to Pew analysis Friday.
The process of congressional apportionment is complicated, as the Pew post explains. Once every state is given one House seat, the process continues with seats being allotted in a sequence determined by a state’s population size.
The Constitution mandates that the “whole number of … persons“ be considered in the count, which has been interpreted to mean a state’s total population, including immigrants legally here or not.
President Trump announced Tuesday that he was instead instructing his administration not to include undocumented immigrants in the apportionment count. The policy will face a major court battle.
If the policy is allowed to go into effect, Texas, California and Florida will each be granted one fewer House seat after the 2020 census than they would have gotten using total population, Pew said.
Meanwhile, excluding undocumented immigrants lets Alabama, Minnesota and Ohio to each hold on to a House seat they would have otherwise lost if total population was used instead.
Trump’s congressional apportionment policy is only one part a several-pronged effort to use the census to shift political power away from immigrant-rich parts of the country in favor of white, more rural populations.
The administration is also planning to release redistricting data that will allow states to draw their legislative maps in a way that will exclude all non-citizens, not just undocumented immigrants.
Doing that “would be advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites,” a now deceased GOP gerrymandering expert — who went on to advise the administration about the Census — wrote in a secret memo in 2015.
Furthermore, there are indications that the White House will try to keep the Census Bureau on a timeline for delivering the apportionment data by the end of the year, instead of four months later, as the Bureau requested due to the pandemic. That will likely cause an undercount in communities of color, redistricting experts have told TPM — further exacerbating the electoral benefits white, GOP-leaning populations would receive under Trump’s policies.
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