Mo Brooks has represented the state of Alabama in the U.S. House of Representatives since winning election in 2010. A Republican, he failed in his attempt to become one of Alabama’s senators in 2017 but he will be on the ballot for reelection to his House seat in November.
A consistent opponent of illegal immigration and the supposed rights of the border crashers, he and the state of Alabama are suing the federal government over its counting of illegal immigrants when apportioning congressional districts and the number of electoral votes possessed by each state.
Brooks points to states such as California where illegal immigrants are tolerated. He claims that counting California’s three million illegals results in adding three — and possibly five — House seats and electoral votes to the state’s current total of 53 House seats and 55 electoral college votes. Were illegals not counted, the number of California’s House seats and electoral college votes would surely be fewer. At least one of each of those, sought-after state possessions would likely be awarded to Alabama.
The Alabama congressman contends that his own state, where the number of illegal immigrants is far fewer than the national average because laws dealing with illegal immigration are upheld, is deprived of its rightful number of electoral votes and representation in the U.S. House. If congressional districts were awarded according to the number of citizens instead of the number of residents, says Brooks, the states where federal laws regarding illegals are generally ignored — such as California — would have diminished congressional and electoral clout.
Obviously aware of the current practice that includes counting illegals in population totals, President Trump has announced that the 2020 Census will count only citizens. If this presidential decision stands, states where illegal immigrants are currently residing will lose representation and electoral clout. At least 20 of each could change hands. States, such as Alabama, would likely see an increase in their numbers of representatives and electoral votes.
While the matter of counting or not counting illegal immigrants is not explicitly addressed in the U.S. Constitution, there are several places in the “law of the land” where the term “citizen” is employed. The nation’s founders obviously meant to establish rules for citizens, not for interlopers. The use of “citizen” clearly acknowledged that the rules being created did not refer to a mere resident or an immigrant who was not a citizen. Article IV, for instance, discusses the rights of “citizens,” a category of person that does not include those illegal immigrants being counted in California and elsewhere.
Even the 14th Amendment, customarily relied upon by liberals and revolutionaries who point to it in order to bring about fundamental changes in America, begins by referring to the rights of “citizens,” not the rights of mere residents.
Mo Brooks and Alabama’s state authorities are to be congratulated for bringing this matter to the attention of the courts and the nation. Our hope is that the counting of non-citizens in the apportioning of House representation and electoral college numbers will cease. The matter should draw attention to several other matters related to the need for realism in dealing with the problems caused by illegal immigration.
John F. McManus is president emeritus of The John Birch Society.