Illegal Immigrants Factor Into 2010 Census Results, Congressional Makeup

December 23, 2010

Fox News

Census data released Tuesday reflects how illegal immigration could shape the makeup of Congress, with border states and other immigration magnets registering big gains over the past decade.

Though the latest Census Bureau information does not include breakouts on race or ethnicity, Western and Southern states with large, or at least growing, immigrant populations were generally the ones that gained enough new residents to warrant additional congressional seats.

Illegal immigrants would constitute just one of several factors in the population shifts recorded in that time. But since illegal immigrants are counted in the U.S. Census by law, they have an inevitable impact on the way House seats are divvied up.

“You can see how they can have a big impact on the distribution of seats,” said Steven Camarota, research director with the Center for Immigration Studies. “Michigan and Pennsylvania are going to lose a seat and it’s going to go to some other place … because of the inclusion of illegal immigrants.”

Camarota estimated the total number of illegal immigrants counted in the 2010 Census at about 10 million. Total population growth for immigrants in the United States exceeded 13 million over the last 10 years. With the U.S. population at 309 million, that might sound like a drop in the melting pot. But their numbers start to make a difference on a state-by-state level.

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