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The Constitution requires that seats in the U.S. House of Representatives be allotted to the states based on "the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed."

That makes no distinction among U.S. citizens, legal immigrants and illegal aliens. So, states that have lots of illegal aliens get greater representation in Congress than states that have fewer.

That injustice is magnified when you consider that some states - and some cities in certain states - have "sanctuary" policies that draw in illegal aliens, while other states and cities are vigorous in standing against illegal immigration. The law-abiding states are disadvantaged, compared with states that have looser laws, when it comes to congressional representation.

This is not just political theory. A University of Connecticut study predicts that California will gain two seats in Congress after the 2010 census because of growth in the number of illegal aliens there. Florida, New Jersey and other states could also gain political clout on that illegitimate basis.

We do not oppose a full count of the people who live in the United States, whatever their citizenship status. But the power of illegal aliens to warp congressional representation is one more reason why Congress ought to secure our borders.

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