The Corner

The Illegal-Alien President?

Illegals could decide the presidential election. No, not because of fraudulent voting, but because of the reapportionment of House seats that takes place after each census. As a report we did last year points out, four House seats were redistributed by the 2000 census as a result of illegal immigration, because the Census Bureau counts everyone, including illegals (the reapportionment of seats didn t happen until after the 2000 election). California gained three seats in Congress (and thus three electoral votes) because of the presence of illegals, and North Carolina gained one, while Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, and Montana each lost a seat. Given currents polls, that means three states likely to vote Republican next month and one Democratic state each lost an electoral college vote; three of those votes went to a Democratic state and one to a Republican, for a net shift of two seats. Given how narrow the margin was last time, this could be decisive.

And if you look at the shift in electoral college strength caused by all non-citizens, legal and illegal, the effect is even larger. Nine seats shifted, six from solid Bush states (Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, and Utah), and just three from states leaning toward Kerry (Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin). Of those nine electoral votes, solidly Democratic states got seven (six to California, one to New York), Republican Texas got one, and one went to Florida. That means what would have been six Bush votes and three Kerry votes have changed, because of immigration, to seven sure Kerry votes, one sure Bush vote, and one up in the air.

The broader point is that letting large numbers of people into the country — even if only as illegals or temporary workers — has a cascading series of intended consequences, not just in welfare policy and the economy and security, but politically, too.

Mark Krikorian — Mark Krikorian, a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995.

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