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Illegal immigrants could sway elections, experts warn

Voters fill out their ballots while voting. (Rich Sugg/The Kansas City Star/TNS)
February 15, 2024

Immigration experts have warned that the unprecedented number of illegal immigrants entering the United States could have a significant impact on the apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives, as well as Electoral College votes.

After Biden’s inauguration in January of 2021, the president signed an executive order requiring the U.S. Census Bureau to determine the population of each state in the United States “without regard to whether its residents are in lawful immigration status.”

Experts have warned that both electoral votes for presidential elections and the apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives could be impacted by the inclusion of illegal immigrants in the decennial census, which could diminish the power of the American voter.

“Illegal immigration has all kinds of effects and among them is that it distorts the mechanics of democratic government,” Center for Immigration Studies Executive Director Mark Krikorian told Fox News. “Illegal immigrants aren’t even supposed to be here, so their inclusion in the census count for purposes of apportionment really is outrageous.”

READ MORE: Video: Democrat senator says illegal immigrants are ‘people we care about most’

“There are a lot of close votes in Congress, more than there used to be. So, it can, in fact, make a difference,” Krikorian added. “It shouldn’t be a question of: Does this give you personally more influence in Washington? The question should be: Is it right? Is it healthy for our democratic process to be distorted this way? The answer is no.”

In June of 2023, the Federation for American Immigration Reform estimated that roughly 16.8 million illegal immigrants were living in the United States. According to Fox News, since each House seat represents roughly 761,168 residents, the number of illegal immigrants currently in the United States would account for approximately 22 House seats.

Fox News also noted that Electoral College votes are distributed to states based on the number of representatives each state has in Congress. As a result, states with an increased population caused by illegal immigration could receive more electoral votes in presidential elections.

Lora Ries, the Heritage Foundation’s Border Security and Immigration Center’s director, highlighted the issue in an interview with Fox News, warning, “It doesn’t get enough attention, and with millions coming in right now, it deserves a bright, hot spotlight.”

In an effort to mitigate the impact of illegal immigrants on U.S. elections, Senator Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) and multiple other Republican senators introduced the “Equal Representation Act” last month. The proposed legislation would prevent illegal immigrants from being counted in the apportionment of congressional districts and Electoral College votes.

“It is unconscionable that illegal immigrants and noncitizens are counted toward congressional district apportionment and our electoral map,” Hagerty stated.