GOP effort to stop illegal immigrants being counted for House districts, Electoral College shot down in Senate

An effort by Senate Republicans to stop non-citizens, including illegal immigrants, from being counted on the census for the purposes of apportionment for House seats and the Electoral College was shot down later Friday after the measure failed to gain the support of a single Democrat.

Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., moved to include an amendment, attached to the $460 billion spending package, that would require the Census Bureau to include a citizenship question in any future census, and then bar anyone who isn’t a U.S. citizen from being counted for purposes of congressional district and Electoral College apportionment.

While the bill would also exclude legal immigrants on temporary visas and green cards from the census, the move has been undertaken explicitly to stop illegal immigrants from being counted amid millions of new arrivals at the southern border. It’s similar to a Trump-era effort to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census. Trump’s effort sparked widespread criticism and condemnation from Democrats and left-wing immigration groups who argued that a citizenship question was unlawful and was designed to help Republicans in future elections.

SEN HAGERTY SAYS DEMS ENGAGING IN ‘SHEER POWER GRAB’ BY TOLERATING BORDER ‘CARNAGE’

February 19, 2024: Sen. Bill Hagerty tours the southern border in Eagle Pass, Texas. (Senate Republican Conference)

Hagerty told Fox News Digital last month that he believes that Democrats in “sanctuary” cities and elsewhere are accepting of the effects of the migrant surge because they are hoping to gain greater representation in the House of Representatives and Electoral College by redistricting. 

“They are seeing people leave their state. They’re seeing the potential of the next census to lose congressional districts and electoral votes. I think most people in America are shocked to find out that we count the presence of illegal immigrants in determining the allocation of congressional districts and electoral votes,” Hagerty said.

“But if you think about the motives for the crime that’s taking place at our southern border, that is it. That’s what the Democrats are trying to do,” he said. “And it’s a sheer power grab. It’s cynical as hell, and it’s actually the most straightforward explanation of why they would tolerate this carnage and mayhem. It’s in order to retain and gain power.”

Some conservative experts have warned about the potential of the migrant surge on House apportionment in particular. The Heritage Foundation’s Lora Ries published an essay alongside R.J. Hauman, the president of the National Immigration Center For Enforcement, warning that illegal immigration is triggering a “warped representation” in Congress.

WHITE HOUSE CALLS FOR SANCTUARY CITIES TO COOPERATE WITH ICE AMID FUROR OVER ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT CRIMES

Migrants at the southern border

Migrants cross the Rio Grande at the US-Mexico border in Piedras Negras, Coahuila state, Mexico, on Friday, Oct. 6, 2023.  (Alejandro Cegarra/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“Barring the Census from including non-citizens in apportionment is critical in making sure that American citizens — the only population who can and should vote in U.S. elections — are picking America’s leaders,” Ries and Hauman wrote, warning that the crisis is “distorting the representation that states have in the House, and how many electoral votes they have in presidential elections.”

However, Hagerty’s amendment failed after 51 Democrats and Independents voted against the measure or were not present. One Republican, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, also voted against the measure. All other Republicans either voted for the measure or were not present. The vote was 51-45 against. 

The mostly united Republican support for the measure suggests that it could pass in the GOP-controlled House.

In a statement, Hagerty said that the Democratic opposition “confirms that they’re using illegal aliens and sanctuary cities to increase their political power.”

7.2M ENTERED US UNDER BIDEN ADMIN, AN AMOUNT GREATER THAN POPULATION OF 36 STATES

The vote comes as immigration remains a red redhot political issue. President Biden visited the southern border last week and on Thursday at the State of the Union renewed his appeals for Congress to pass a bipartisan border bill.

“Look, folks, we have a simple choice: We can fight about fixing the border, or we can fix it.  I’m ready to fix it. Send me the border bill now,” Biden said.

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The bill would increase staffing to the border and funding for cities and NGOs receiving migrants. It would also place a limit on border entries, but conservatives say the 5,000-a-day trigger would normalize already-excessive levels of illegal immigration.

Fox News’ Thomas Catenacci contributed to this report.
 

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