Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Congressional Apportionment & Illegal Aliens

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, July 24, 2020

Mo Brooks is Alabama’s 5th Congressional District Republican Representative.

Earlier yesterday, Alabama’s 5th Congressional District Representative Morris Jackson “Mo” Brooks appeared on the NPR program On Point.

His appearance was in reference to a Federal lawsuit in which he, and the State of Alabama (through its Attorney General Steve Marshall), are plaintiffs, which raised a question about enumeration, and apportionment.¹

(Read the lawsuit here: State of AL & Mo Brooks v US Census Bureau)

Specifically, the state is concerned that they might lose a seat in reapportionment – along with the Federal dollars that accompany it – because of concern that other states might increase their apportionment of the 435 Members of the House of Representatives.

Now, if you think about it, that’s ironic, if not outright hypocritical, because Alabama is a significant recipient of government largess, aka “tax dollars” more so, than they send in. In other words, Alabama is a welfare recipient state. And welfare is something anathema to GOPers.

But it’s not as if Alabama hasn’t been shortchanged before. The “Alabama Paradox,” which interestingly – and, again ironically – is the inversely proportional phenomenon in which a state’s population increases, yet Congressional representation decreases, which was first discovered in 1880 by C. W. Seaton, Chief Clerk of the United States Census Bureau, who calculated apportionments for all House sizes between 275 and 350, and discovered that Alabama would get 8 seats with a House size of 299, but only 7 with a House size of 300. The same phenomenon was discovered to exist with new states admitted to the union (such as with Colorado in 1900), and generally refers to an apportionment scenario in which increasing the number of Representatives would decrease at least one state’s number of representatives in the House.

Mathematically, of course, it’s impossible to have a perfectly equal representation, which was proven in 1983 by two mathematicians, Michel Balinski and Peyton Young, who discovered that any method of apportionment which does not violate the quota rule – being that the number of seats to be allocated should be between the upper or lower roundings of its fractional proportional share – will result in paradoxes whenever there are three or more states. Earlier, in 1980, the Balinski–Young theorem proved that if an apportionment method satisfies the quota rule, it must fail to satisfy some apportionment paradox.

But, determining methods to apportion is getting much too complex, and practically misses the entire point, which is that the Constitution plainly states that ALL people should be counted, and Alabama is claiming that all people should NOT be counted, alleging that illegal aliens constitute an inordinate number of people in the nation.

Again, Alabama has been down that path before with their HB56 law written by Kris Kobach when he was Kansas Secretary of State, which sought to exclude people from legal rights (freedom of movement, etc.) and long-standing protections, based upon their immigration status, which was typically determined by looking at skin color, or surname, and little else. Federal courts have since struck down most of the law.

The wording in the recent Alabama & Mo Brooks v Census Bureau suit states that “plaintiffs seek a declaratory judgment that the Residence Rule is unconstitutional because an apportionment of members of the House of Representatives and Electoral College votes among the states based on population figures which include illegal aliens would violate § 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment, Article I, § 2’s requirement of an “actual Enumeration” of the population of the United States, and Article II, § 1 of the United States Constitution.”

The suit seeks remedy through a rather perverse – and un-Constitutional – means, making accusation that illegal aliens (aka undocumented immigrants, otherwise known as people who are here in violation of immigration law, such as Canadians, who illegally overstayed their visas, which research showed are far more abundant than Hispanics, or Mexicans, and in 2016-17 accounted for at least 93,000 – more than any other nation), and that such contravention is anathema to the purpose of the Census, which states that all people shall be counted, making no differentiation among citizens, and non-citizens… at least none that we now know of – except for the Indian thing (“excluding Indians not taxed”)… and the Three-Fifths Compromise and the 13th Amendment, which still allows slavery, albeit “except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.”

Most recently, on July 21, 2020, the White House wrote a “Memorandum for the Secretary of Commerce” which was entitled “Memorandum on Excluding Illegal Aliens From the Apportionment Base Following the 2020 Census,” and acknowledged in part that, “The Constitution does not specifically define which persons must be included in the apportionment base.” That’s interesting, because as they continue down the rabbit hole of their illogic, they conclude with the President having the final say in the Census by writing “The President, by law, makes the final determination regarding the “whole number of persons in each State,” which determines the number of Representatives to be apportioned to each State, and transmits these determinations and accompanying census data to the Congress (2 U.S.C. 2a(a)).”

However, the law which they quote 2 U.S.C. 2a(a) states in pertinent part, that “the President shall transmit to the Congress a statement showing the whole number of persons in each State…” not that the President shall make any changes, or additions.

Moreover, there’s likely little disagreement that White House Racist, er… Senior Policy Advisor Stephen Miller is behind all this administration’s perverse wranglings dealing with ethnicity, national origin, or skin color.

But all that, and those matters are subjects for another day.

Suffice it to say, however, that the GOP has so severely financially hobbled the agencies which are charged with fulfilling, upholding, executing, and enforcing the nation’s immigration and naturalization laws, that their jobs are made exceedingly more difficult to perform because of the lack of proper and adequate financial resources.² ³ So when the GOPers cry, whine, moan, groan, and complain about illegal immigration, they should first look in the mirror to see where the problem exists, and then, open the national pocketbook, rather than expecting to get something for free.

Now, in regard to the redistricting/apportionment matter – which is actually the root of the problem addressed by Representative Brooks – the number of Representatives, 435, was fixed in 1911 following the 1910 Census, and up until that time, their numbers had increased proportionally as necessary, and as required by the Constitution and law, in response to national population growth.

There was no rhyme, no reason, nor rationale given for affixing the size of the House of Representatives at 435.

In 1910, the U.S. Census Bureau found a little over 92 million people in the nation. At that time, the ratio of People to Representative was 212,020 to 1.

Fast forward 110 years.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates U.S. population at a little over 330 million – an increase of 257.8%.

The ratio of People to Representative is 758,621 to 1.

It’s unrealistic to imagine that 1 person could effectively represent so many people – over three-quarters of a million – if at all. So it’s little-to-no wonder that so many don’t think their interests are represented in Congress. They’re not.

The root of the problem, to which Representative Brooks obliquely alluded, is apportionment.

Analogously, with only 435 Representatives, we’re merely metaphorically rearranging chairs on the Titanic, or if you prefer, forcing 3 dogs to fight over 1 bone.

Through the years, we have adjusted the ratio of representation, and originally began with 30,000 People to 1 Representative.

It’s been over 110 years since we last adjusted the ratio.

We’ve obviously grown in population, but the People’s representation has been diminished, and diluted – and it hasn’t been caused by illegal aliens, illegal immigration, or any other such preposterous absurdity.

So, the obvious Constitutional solution to the problem at hand, is to INCREASE the size of the House of Representatives.

If we used the original ratio of 30,000 to 1 when the Constitution was written, it’d be practically unmanageable. But at over 750,000 to 1 as it is now, it’s unrepresentative. Somewhere, between the ratio established in 1911 (212,020 to 1) and the present ratio, there ought to be a reasonable figure.

An arithmetical average of the two figures (212,020 + 758,621 = 970,641 / 2 = 485,320.5, or 485,321) would be reasonable. In fact, that figure could be rounded up to 500,000 to 1.

A ratio of NO MORE THAN 500,000 People to 1 Representative (and ideally, 375,000 to 1), would see many more people effectively represented, whose interests are not now being represented.

But the state with the least population is Wyoming, with an estimated 578,759 people. If a ratio of 375,000 to 1 was used, Wyoming would have 2 Congressional Representatives – because of rounding up. (Any number 5 or greater after the decimal point gets rounded up to the next whole number. Any number 4 or lesser, gets rounded down to a whole number.) At that ratio, the size of the House of Representatives would be 880.

Frankly, that’d be a much more realistic figure. And given that we’ve grown 257.8% in 110 years, if we increased the size of the House by that percentage, it’d have 1,556.43, or 1556 Members – again, a figure which could be perceived as teetering on the almost unmanageable.

But if we applied another ratio – that of 375,000 to 1 – the size of the House would be 880, which would be a 102.29% increase in size… a little less than half the amount (128.9%) we’ve increased in size.

And, with a ratio of 375,000 to 1, Alabama would have 13 Congressional Representatives – nearly double their current amount of 7.

Since 1980, we’ve increased 45.6659% in population. The GOP mantra of “smaller government” just doesn’t hold water, and is a preposterous absurdity for a nation of 330,000,000, for according to their adage, as population grows, and needs increase, government should decrease in size – it’s an inversely proportional ratio which acknowledges that, at some point in time, government will actually disappear. Because, you know… Ronald Reagan said it.

As I have continually pointed out, in his first Inaugural Address Reagan said “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”

Of course, there was no “crisis” then. And, if “government is the problem,” the obvious solution to that problem is the abolition of it.

And effectively, that is what he and GOPers set about doing. Nowhere was that more noticeable than in the Mental Health Systems Act of 1980 which was signed into law by President Carter in October that same year, and  a year later repealed by a GOP-dominated Congress, and the money block-granted to the States.

Since that time, America’s homelessness problem has become an ever-increasing and almost-permanent fixture, and the mentally ill are instead, arrested and housed in prisons nationwide.

So much for “compassionate conservatism,” eh?

¹ https://www.al.com/news/2018/06/alabama_lawsuit_tip_of_the_spe.html

² https://www.migrationpolicy.org/news/uscis-severe-budget-shortfall

³ https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/22/politics/backlog-green-cards-immigration/index.html

https://www.rollcall.com/2020/06/24/uscis-furlough-employees-2020-emergency-funding/

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