News

US House Democrats Voted to Give 'Illegal Immigrants' New Representation in Elections?

Various posts repeated Stephen Miller's claim that this was "invasion by design."

Published May 10, 2024

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On May 8, 2024, Stephen Miller, former adviser to 2024 U.S. Republican presidential candidate (and former president) Donald Trump, claimed on X that U.S. House Democrats had voted to give Electoral College representation to undocumented immigrants (archived):

His post, viewed nearly 61 million times and liked 32,000 times as of this writing, was reshared by X owner Elon Musk, who added an emoji indicating agreement (archived):

This post had received 58 million views as of this writing.?

The Gateway Pundit?(archived), a far-right online publication known for its amplification of conspiracy theories, added more to the claim (emphasis theirs):

House Democrats on Wednesday night voted unanimously to give illegal aliens – including Joe Biden's?11 million illegal border crossers?– representation in Congress and the Electoral College.

Democrats continue to put Americans and American workers in line behind alien invaders.

Many readers appeared to take Miller's post to mean that with the passage of H.R. 7109, Democrats gave "new rights" to undocumented immigrants, and worried about the legality of the move:?


(X/@MarioNawfal)

(archived)

Others, contrasting Miller's words with the table he posted, worried that in fact Republicans were responsible for passing H.R. 7109 (archived):?

But that phrasing of the claim obfuscated the fact that Democrats unanimously voted against the bill, the wording of which actually removes representation of undocumented immigrants and legal non-citizen residents in the U.S. Census. In other words, they voted to keep existing U.S. Census rules in place, under which those non-citizens were already represented, based on a principle the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed in 2019.

Bill H.R. 7109

On May 8, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on bill H.R. 7109, sponsored by Rep. Chuck Edwards, a Republican from North Carolina. The bill aimed to add a question to the U.S. Census, which occurs every 10 years, asking respondents whether they are U.S. citizens. Edwards said in a news release on his website that the goal of the bill was "to protect America's democracy and electoral integrity by making sure that only American citizens are counted when apportioning congressional seats and, consequently, Electoral College votes."

As Miller correctly pointed out, the bill passed the House with a vote split along political party lines. Republicans voted unanimously in favor of it, while Democrats voted unanimously against it. The bill was unlikely to pass the U.S. Senate, where Democrats hold a slim majority. The White House also said it "strongly" opposed the bill:

H.R. 7109 would increase the cost of conducting the census and make it more difficult to obtain accurate data. It would also violate the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, which requires that the number of seats in the House of Representatives "be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State ..."

'Protect Electoral Integrity'?

Every 10 years, the U.S. Census has a constitutional mandate to count residents — as opposed to citizens — in every U.S. state.?Article 1, section 2 of the U.S. Constitution reads (emphasis ours):

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

The total number of residents in any given state is what determines the number of representatives in the U.S. House, as well as in the Electoral College. This means that states with the most residents get the most U.S. representatives and the most electors in the Electoral College. For example, the two states with the most electors in 2024 were California, with 54 electors, and Texas, with 40 electors.?

The Republicans' bill would change this, ensuring that the number of representatives and electors is proportional not to the overall population of a state, but to the population of citizens. Democrats voted to maintain the system as it was mandated by the U.S. Constitution. Critics have argued that such a change would cause respondents to feel intimidated, resulting in population undercounting and unreliable data.

Critics also suspect that such a change would tip the electoral balance towards Republicans, allowing them to draw electoral maps in favor of their candidates and hurting the representation of more diverse communities.

It is important to note that, by law, only U.S. citizens are allowed to vote in federal elections.

This is not the first time Republicans attempted to add a citizenship question to the decennial census. In 2019, the?U.S. Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration's attempt to change then 2020 census in a 5-4 decision, saying the reasoning behind it was "contrived" (read full decision).?

Sources

Breaking: House Democrats Vote UNANIMOUSLY to Give Illegal Aliens Representation in Congress and the Electoral College | The Gateway Pundit | by Jim Hoft. 9 May 2024, https://web.archive.org/web/20240509121941/https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2024/05/breaking-house-democrats-vote-unanimously-give-illegal-aliens/.

'Distribution of Electoral Votes'. National Archives, 19 Sept. 2019, https://www.archives.gov/electoral-college/allocation.

Edwards, Chuck. Equal Representation Act. H.R. 7109, https://www.congress.gov/bill/118th-congress/house-bill/7109.

House of Representatives Passes Edwards' Bill to Only Include U.S. Citizens in Congressional Representation | Congressman Chuck Edwards. 8 May 2024, http://edwards.house.gov/media/press-releases/house-representatives-passes-edwards-bill-only-include-us-citizens.

'READ: Supreme Court Ruling on 2020 Census Citizenship Question | CNN Politics'. CNN, 27 June 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/27/politics/read-supreme-court-ruling-2020-census-citizenship-case/index.html.

Rep. Fleischmann Votes to Add Citizenship Question to Census and End Counting of Illegal Aliens for Congressional Representation and Electoral College Votes | Congressman Chuck Fleischmann. 8 May 2024, http://fleischmann.house.gov/media/press-releases/rep-fleischmann-votes-to-add-citizenship-question-to-census-and-end-counting-of-illegal-aliens-for-congressional-representation-and-electoral-college-votes.

STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY. Executive Office of the President, 6 May 2024, https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/SAP-HR7109.pdf.

Sullivan, Ariane de Vogue, Kate. 'Supreme Court Blocks 2020 Census Citizenship Question | CNN Politics'. CNN, 27 June 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/27/politics/census-supreme-court/index.html.

U.S. Constitution, Article 1. https://constitution.congress.gov/constitution/article-1/.

Washington, U. S. Capitol Room H154, and DC 20515-6601 p:225-7000. 'Roll Call 193 Roll Call 193, Bill Number: H. R. 7109, 118th Congress, 2nd Session'. Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives, 8 May 2024, https://clerk.house.gov/Votes/2024193.

Anna Rascou?t-Paz is based in Brooklyn, fluent in numerous languages and specializes in science and economic topics.