Controversial Census Bill Passes House, Faces Uncertain Future In Senate

The House of Representatives narrowly passed the Equal Representation Act on Wednesday, a controversial bill that aims to include a citizenship question on the census and exclude illegal immigrants from the redistricting and Electoral College apportionment processes. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Chuck Edwards (R-IL), passed along party lines with a vote of 206 to 202 but is expected to face significant challenges in the Senate.

Supporters of the bill, including Rep. Cory Mills (R-FL), argue that the presence of illegal immigrants in the United States is influencing electoral outcomes and that the Equal Representation Act is necessary to “protect the voices of law-abiding American citizens.” Edwards stated, “The mere presence of illegal immigrants in the U.S. is influencing electoral outcomes, and the Equal Representation Act that the House passed would protect our democracy by making sure that American citizens – and American citizens only – have a say in determining the direction of our country.”

Critics of the legislation, such as Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), contend that the Constitution calls for counting “persons” in the country and that adding the citizenship question could discourage honest responses. They also worry that permanent residents, including Green Card holders, could be excluded from the apportionment process. Raskin suggested that the current system benefits Republican-led states like Texas and Florida and that amending the Constitution would be necessary to address the concerns raised by Republicans.

The passage of the Equal Representation Act comes amid ongoing debates about immigration and election security in the United States. Former President Donald Trump unsuccessfully sought to add a citizenship question to the census during his administration, but the Supreme Court ultimately blocked the effort in 2019.

The next decennial census is scheduled for 2030, and the outcome of this legislation could have significant implications for the apportionment of congressional seats and the allocation of electoral votes in future elections.


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