Alabama’s Fight to Keep Congressional Representation Spikes Interest Locally: Alabama Attorney General Office Representative Visits The Chamber

July 13, 2018

By: The Public Affairs Committee of the Calhoun County Area Chamber & Visitors Center

IMG_7544In a recent event held by the Chamber, a representative from the Alabama Attorney General’s office came to discuss a lawsuit against the Census Bureau surrounding the issue of counting illegal immigrants for the sake of congressional representation on the 2020 Census. The duo spearheading this lawsuit include Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall and Alabama Representative Mo Brooks (R). “Congressional seats should be apportioned based on the population of American citizens, not illegal aliens,” Brooks said in a recent press release. The duo claim that the rule of counting all those who reside in a specific population, whether legal or illegal citizens, for the distribution of congressional representatives is a violation of the 14th amendment—granting citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States.
DSC07291Their argument also outlines that this rule is inconsistent with other federal laws and is
inconsistent with the constitutional goal of equal representation. “The Constitution does not permit the dilution of our legal residents; right to equal representation in this manner,” Marshall said in the press release.

When asked if the lawsuit was insisting that illegal immigrants who are very much so a part of the community should be excluded from the Census count, which is critical to school systems and local and state funding, the representative stated that the lawsuit is aimed only to address counting illegal immigrants in terms of the distribution of congressional representation amongst the states and is not concerned with the funding aspect of the Census.

IMG_7143Alabama is one of the few states that has taken the initiative to file a lawsuit surrounding this issue. Coincidentally, Alabama is one of the only states who will have something to lose from the counting of illegal immigrants. Currently, Alabama has seven seat in the U.S. House and nine votes in the Electoral College. Out of 50 states, Alabama is one of the few states who is projected to lose a congressional seat if illegal immigrants are counted going form seven and nine to six and eight. This means more citizens in Alabama crammed into larger districts of representation, and consequently less representation for Alabama on a national scale. The lawsuit states that in 2010 states including Louisiana, Missouri, and Ohio lost house seats because people in the country illegally were included, while California, Texas, and Florida, with high illegal immigrant populations, gained seats. In addition, Alabama also stands to lose federal funding that is based on the census that would otherwise be used for highways, programs for children, low-income families, and healthcare.

This is why it is extremely important to complete the Census with or without the lawsuit. In order for Alabama to be fairly represented on a national scale, we must have representatives to be our voices in the policy-making process. Filling out the Census is just one step in ensuring that our votes are not diluted and our voices are not over looked. Other ways to get involved is to join our Public Affairs Committee of the Chamber. We have a subcommittee specifically designed to increase awareness of the importance of the Census in 2020 as well as to be involved in other local, state, and federal issues.

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