Louisiana Sues Federal Government Over Illegal Aliens
posted at 11:05 am on November 16, 2011 by Laura Curtis
We count illegal aliens in the census, and that is a good thing because we need to know just how many people are here illegally. But we should not count them for the purposes of apportioning Congressional districts. Because the federal government did just that, several states including Louisiana lost seats in the House. This week, Louisiana’s Attorney General Buddy Caldwell filed suit in the Supreme Court to get that seat back.
It’s not just the loss of a House district. Louisiana vs. Bryson (that’s John Bryson, Obama’s controversial Secretary of Commerce) points out that with the loss of the House district comes a reduction in electoral college votes. As Lyle Denniston writes at Scotusblog:
The result of these disparities, Louisiana said, is that the votes of its citizens are worth less “in terms of electoral power” than in a state like California, with a large population of undocumented aliens. Here is how that comes about, according to Louisiana’s lawsuit: a state with a small population of illegal aliens winds up with a greater proportion of eligible voters per district, because fewer of its residents are deducted from the voting population. The state illustrated the point with these figures: 748,160 voting-age individuals in Louisiana will elect a Representative in each district in the state, while only 656,452 Californians are needed to elect a member of the House in each district in that state. That is a nearly 14 percent decrease in Louisiana’s electoral power, the state said.
While the trend has been to move from labels like “illegal alien” to “illegal immigrant” and “undocumented immigrant” or even “migrant” this lawsuit puts the issue into sharp relief by identifying them as “Non-Immigrant Foreign Nationals.” The case will decide whether we have the right to exclude non-citizens from our political calculations. If we’re going to count them for those purposes, granting non-citizens voting rights is just a small step from there.