Hagerty, Colleagues Introduce Legislation to End Counting of Illegal Immigrants in Determining Electoral College Votes and Congressional District Apportionment

January 25, 2024

Counting illegal immigrants voting power encourages illegal immigration and destroys equal representation by making some citizens’ votes more powerful than others

WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Rules Committee, today led his colleagues in introducing the Equal Representation Act, legislation to ensure that only legal citizens are factored into the count for Congressional districts and the Electoral College map that determines presidential elections. The current method of counting illegal immigrants for purposes of representation serves as a perverse incentive for open borders to boost the relative political power of the states and voters that court it.

The legislation comes after video revealed a Democrat Congresswoman openly calling for more illegal immigration to her New York congressional district because she “needs more people in her district for redistricting purposes.” 

Currently, illegal immigrants are counted for congressional district apportionment and, therefore, Electoral College votes. For example, in a state like California, millions of illegal alien residents result in California taking several more congressional seats and Electoral College votes than the states’ population of citizens would justify. In other words, being a magnet for illegal immigration increases the power of a Californian’s vote relative to an individual in another state with less population boost from illegal immigration. This creates a perverse incentive encouraging illegal immigration and resettlement to increase political power.

Co-sponsors of the bill include Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Mike Braun (R-IN), Katie Britt (R-AL), Ted Budd (R-NC), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Steve Daines (R-MT), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), James Lankford (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Jim Risch (R-ID), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Eric Schmitt (R-MO), John Thune (R-SD), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), and J.D. Vance (R-OH).

“It is unconscionable that illegal immigrants and non-citizens are counted toward congressional district apportionment and our electoral map,” said Senator Hagerty. “While people continue to flee Democrat-run cities, desperate Democrats are back-filling the mass exodus with illegal immigrants so that they do not lose their seats in Congress or their electoral votes for the presidency, hence artificially boosting their political power and in turn diluting the power of other Americans’ votes. I’m pleased to introduce this legislation that would require a citizenship question on the census and will ensure that only citizens are counted in congressional redistricting.”

“Blue states may be losing citizens over their liberal policies, but they’re making up for it by welcoming illegal immigrants,” said Senator Blackburn. “Democrats have admitted the quiet part out loud as they continue to justify their open border policies: they just need a higher head count to help them acquire more seats in Congress and more dollars from the federal government. This is wrong and un-American. Only U.S. citizens should be counted for purposes of congressional and Electoral College apportionment.” 

“President Biden, the self-proclaimed ‘defender of democracy,’ spent his first day in office signing an executive order that includes illegal immigrants in the count for how many Congressional districts and Electoral College votes a state gets,” said Senator Braun. “We should rip it up.”

“This bill is a commonsense measure to ensure that the census and apportionment process does not incentivize and encourage mass illegal migration,” said Senator Britt. “Counting illegal aliens in the census and then awarding both more representation in Congress and more Electoral College votes to states with larger populations of illegal aliens effectively disenfranchises American citizens. I thank Senator Hagerty for introducing this straightforward legislation, and I will continue fighting to put hardworking Americans first.”

“The basic function of the census is to determine an accurate makeup of our country,” said Senator Budd. “To ignore the fundamental distinction between legal citizens and illegal aliens produces not only inaccurate data, but creates an incentive for policies that encourage illegal immigration. We are already facing the worst border crisis in American history. Now is the time to reverse the failed policies of the past. That’s why I am glad to join Senator Hagerty on this bill and thank him for leading it.”

“When the Census Bureau counts the population it determines congressional representation, funding for communities, and other things,” said Dr. Cassidy. “When dividing up congressional seats and federal dollars only American citizens should count.”  

“The Biden administration’s reckless refusal to secure the southern border and allow unfettered entry into the United States by illegal immigrants has wide-reaching impacts on our country,” said Senator Cramer. “The Census is the foundation for representation in our political system, and any census which could include non-citizens in the apportionment count is gravely concerning. Illegal immigrants and non-citizens cannot vote and should not be used as pawns in redistricting games. Our Census must count both Americans and non-Americans but should also distinguish between them.”

“Playing an active role in our nation’s democratic process is a benefit of U.S. citizenship,” said Senator Crapo. “I support the Equal Representation Act to guarantee the Electoral College is apportioned to reflect accurately the number of American citizens in each state.”

“The current crisis at our border has made even Wyoming a border state—and the sanctuary states housing illegal aliens in gymnasiums, schools and other shelters aim to benefit greatly if this problem continues through the census,” said Senator Lummis. “Wyoming communities already struggle to access federal funds, and rewarding larger sanctuary states like New York—which already has 26 House seats— for unlawfully harboring illegal aliens will only exacerbate current federal funding disparities at the expense of the hardworking people of Wyoming. We cannot allow these states to pad their population numbers due to their radical immigration policies, which is why I joined Senator Hagerty in introducing the Equal Representation Act to lessen the rural-urban divide and protect our rural states from further harm due to this administration’s open border policies.”

“Since 1820, the federal government has routinely utilized the Census to ask questions about citizenship status,” said Senator Ricketts. “This bill ends the current system that rewards sanctuary cities and states with more representation in Congress and electoral votes because of their larger illegal immigrant populations. Only citizens can vote in federal elections so it makes sense federal representation should be based on citizen population. This bill would provide the data and policy change needed to make that possible.”

“Democrats are exploiting the rights of U.S. citizens by encouraging illegal immigrants to enter the U.S., travel to sanctuary cities, and skew congressional redistricting for political gain,” said Senator Risch. “It is well past time the Census Bureau include a citizenship question to keep American values on track and prioritize the voices of American citizens.”

“There is a crisis at our southern border, and major cities in the United States are overwhelmed with migrants who have come here illegally,” said Senator Rounds. “The liberal politicians running these cities are welcoming illegal migrants with open arms. They want to count non-U.S. citizens towards Congressional apportionment to help them gain more seats in Congress. We should not be rewarding this behavior by allowing the practice of counting illegal immigrants for apportionment purposes.”

“Illegal aliens have no right to congressional representation in this country,” said Senator Tuberville. “They shouldn’t even be here. Yet right now, tens of millions of illegal aliens are here and affecting the balance of power in Congress. This is a slap in the face to EVERY American citizen, whether Republican, Democrat, or Independent. I support the Equal Representation Act so that all AMERICANS get fair and equal representation in Congress.”

The Equal Representation Act:

  • Requires that the Census Bureau include a citizenship question on any future census to provide a greater understanding of the U.S. population and delineate between citizens and non-citizens for apportionment purposes;
  • Prohibits non-citizens from being counted for purposes of congressional district and Electoral College apportionment; and
  • Requires that the Census Bureau publicly report on certain demographic data.

Full text of the legislation can be found here.