House Passes Census Bill Taking Action On Illegal Immigrants And Apportionment

The Equal Representation Act, a contentious bill that seeks to add a citizenship question to the census and prevent illegal immigrants from influencing the redistricting and Electoral College apportionment processes, passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday in a party-line vote of 206 to 202. Sponsored by Rep. Chuck Edwards (R-IL), the legislation has garnered support from over 100 co-sponsors but faces an uncertain future in the Senate.

Proponents of the bill, such as Rep. Cory Mills (R-FL), argue that the presence of illegal immigrants in the United States is affecting electoral outcomes and that the Equal Representation Act is necessary to “preserve the integrity of our elections.” Edwards stated, “Including the count of non-US citizens in determining how many congressional seats and electoral votes each state has is skewing the representation of Americans in their federal government.”

Opponents of the bill, including Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), point to the Constitution’s call for counting “persons” in the country and express concerns that the citizenship question could deter honest responses. They also worry that permanent residents, such as Green Card holders, could be excluded from the apportionment process. Raskin suggested that the current system benefits Republican-led states like Texas and Florida and that amending the Constitution would be necessary to address the concerns raised by Republicans.

The passage of the Equal Representation Act comes as the United States grapples with immigration and election security issues. Former President Donald Trump unsuccessfully attempted to add a citizenship question to the census during his administration, but the Supreme Court ultimately blocked the effort in 2019.

The next decennial census is set to take place in 2030, and the outcome of this legislation could have far-reaching implications for the apportionment of congressional seats and the allocation of electoral votes in future elections

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