When do aliens count?Dec 22, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 15 • By GARY SCHMITT and REBECCA BURGESS
Anger among conservatives over President Obama’s decision to grant amnesty to four or five million illegal immigrants has focused not only on the substance of the decision but also on the constitutionality of his exercise of executive power. And while that debate is important, the separation of powers is not the only significant constitutional matter at stake. In contention as well are the contours of representative government itself.
Knitted to the issue is the question of the apportionment of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives and the distribution of Electoral College votes among the states, which are tied to the census count conducted every 10 years. Under current directives, that count tallies up not only citizens and legal resident aliens, but also those here illegally. The latters’ inclusion appears to be mandated by the language of the 14th Amendment which reads: “Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state.”
This reading of the 14th Amendment creates a set of incentives for states to tolerate, if not actually invite, more illegal immigration within their boundaries. Reapportionment is a zero-sum game. With the total number of House members set by law at 435, states stand to lose a representative (or two) as other states win additional members. More bodies equals more representatives, and more votes when it comes to selecting a president.
Since the 1980 census, the government’s official tally of population—through the use of the “short form”—has stopped including data as to whether those being tallied are citizens, legal, or illegal immigrants. However, the Census Bureau continued to try and estimate the numbers in these various categories. In 1985, for example, director of the Bureau of the Census John Keane testified before a Senate subcommittee that, based on bureau estimates, California and New York had each gained a congressman (while Georgia and Indiana each lost one), thanks to the number of illegal aliens in those states.
Because of the likely sensitivity of the issue, the Census Bureau did not calculate similar figures after the 1990 reapportionment, but an estimate of the impact of immigration by Texas A&M demographer Dudley Poston Jr. and colleagues found that California gained two congressmen, Texas one, while Kentucky, Massachusetts, and New Jersey each lost one. And, while certainly not the only reason for a “plus-up,” it’s no coincidence that immigrant-heavy Texas, Arizona, Nevada, and Florida ended up with additional representation in Congress after the 2010 census. And, of course, hundreds of billions of dollars in federal largesse are tied in part to population counts—only sweetening the pot a state stands to collect by pumping up its numbers.
Given voting patterns among Hispanics, the president and his party have further partisan reasons to welcome illegal aliens. According to a March 2013 Department of Homeland Security report, 73 percent of the unauthorized population in 2012 congregated in the 10 states of California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Georgia, North Carolina, Arizona, and Washington. And while we would like to think noncitizens are not allowed to vote, research done by Jesse Richman and David Earnest has shown that more than 14 percent of noncitizens sampled in 2008 and 2010 indicated not only that they were registered to vote, but also that in some close elections, those votes likely made a difference in determining the winner.
This is not to mention how President Obama’s recent decision only increases the likelihood that those contemplating jumping America’s borders will now do so, with the expectation that, once over, they will eventually be amnestied. As even the New York Times noted, when “Congress granted amnesty to an estimated three million illegal immigrants as part of a  law that also promised to crack down on further illegal immigration by imposing sanctions on employers who knowingly violated the law,” the result was that by 2000, there were “twice as many illegal workers.” Legalized immigrants were attractive anchors for relatives who joined them in the United States without fear of any tangible legal repercussions.
Time to bring the immigration debate out of ‘the shadows’Dec 15, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 14 • By PETER SKERRY
The predictable furor over President Obama’s executive order offering relief to approximately 5 million undocumented immigrants has obscured the fact that his initiative is much bolder in form than in content. Obama has gone to extraordinary lengths to offer less than what immigrant advocates have for years been insisting is an absolute necessity: full citizenship.
5:15 PM, Dec 3, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
The Obama administration's Department of Homeland Security is hiring 1,000 new employees and has secured new office space to implement provisions of the November executive order on immigration. The Washington Times reports:
8:03 AM, Nov 25, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
A New York luxury hotel says it does not knowingly employ illegal immigrants, despite a suggestion by Hillary Clinton that it does.
Congress ponders how to stop Obama’s unilateral immigration moves. Nov 24, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 11 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Move over, Barack Obama. The Republicans are now the party of hope—at least when it comes to Obama’s expected executive order on immigration.
“We hope the president isn’t going to do that,” Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, the soon-to-be Senate majority leader, said November 13, in his first postelection press conference at the Capitol.
Young Latin Americans pay the price for America’s policy blunders. Aug 18, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 46 • By PETER SKERRY
For over a generation now, America’s elites have willfully ignored a substantial segment of the public that has misgivings about ever-increasing levels of immigration. Whenever possible these elites—in the academy, religious institutions, the media, politics, and business—have responded to such misgivings with platitudes about our status as “a nation of immigrants,” conveniently overlooking the four decades of the 20th century when the gates were substantially closed.
8:41 AM, Aug 7, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Tennessee senator Lamar Alexander is making his final pitch to primary voters with a radio ad in which the two-term Republican claims he has voted to "end amnesty" for illegal immigrants. Alexander has been hit hard on the issue of immigration by his chief GOP challenger, state representative Joe Carr, ahead of Thursday's primary.
"In the last few days of a campaign, don't believe anything new that you hear," Alexander says in the ad. "Last year, I voted to end amnesty. Last week I voted against President Obama's immigration bill." Listen to the ad below:
7:39 AM, Aug 6, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich told radio host Laura Ingraham Tuesday that if President Barack Obama proceeds to amnesty thousands of illegal immigrants through executive order, Republicans should make the case against such a move the party's "number one" campaign issue for the 2014 midterm elections.
Pryor: "We have a much more secure border today than we did ten years ago."1:56 PM, Aug 4, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
For the most part, Republican candidates for Congress have been quiet about the immigration crisis on the border, with a few exceptions. But Rep. Tom Cotton, the GOP Senate candidate in Arkansas, has put his Democratic opponent's support for amnesty for illegal immigrants at the center of his new TV ad.
11:49 AM, Jul 28, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Lamar Alexander, the two-term Republican senator from Tennessee, is in a strong position to win reelection this November. But only if he can get through his August 7 primary.
10:25 AM, Jul 28, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
New Hampshire Senate candidate Scott Brown has a new ad targeting what the Republican calls the Democrats' "pro-amnesty policies." The 30-second spot, among the first in the 2014 cycle to address the illegal immigration crisis on the border, features the former Massachusetts senator juxtaposing the security lines at airports and public events with the lack of security at the Mexican border.
"We have an immigration crisis on our hands. We respond with compassion, but it's time for us to secure the border once and for all," Brown says. Watch the ad below:
Jul 21, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 42 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Last week, Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat, lashed out at President Obama over the border crisis. Since last fall, more than 40,000 unaccompanied minors, mostly from Central America, have been caught illegally trying to enter the country. Cuellar called Obama’s response “aloof,” “bizarre,” and “detached.” He might have added “predictable.”