George Will: Founders Intended to Count Illegal Aliens in Congressional Apportionment

Census Citizen, Non-Citizen Graphic

Washington Post columnist George Will says America’s founding fathers’ “original intent” was to count illegal aliens in congressional apportionment.

In a column titled “Republicans are arguing against the Framers’ original intent,” Will claims that the framers of the United States Constitution intended for illegal aliens to be counted in congressional apportionment counts that decide how many lawmakers represent each state in Congress.

The counts are based on Census Bureau totals that include the entire state population. In July, President Trump issued a memorandum to exclude illegal aliens from the counts, noting that their inclusion inflates the congressional power of dense, blue states.

Will, however, states that the framers intended to include illegal aliens, admitting that Republican states lose out from their inclusion in the counts, while blue states gain:

On Nov. 30, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a census-related case concerning a question of large philosophic interest and practical consequences: Was it constitutional — 22 states, 15 cities and counties and other entities say no — for the president to order the exclusion of unauthorized immigrants from the enumeration of states’ populations used for apportioning congressional seats? Apportionment was the initial reason for the census, and remains its only constitutional function. [Emphasis added]

The Framers understood “persons” broadly, with the sole exception of Indians not taxed because they were considered noncitizens with an allegiance to distinct political communities: their tribes. The Framers would not have expressly excluded Indians not taxed if “persons” excluded foreigners or others with an allegiance to a government other than the U.S. government. So, the Framers clearly meant “persons” to include immigrants. [Emphasis added]

Republicans would benefit from not counting illegal immigrants for purposes of apportionment: This would reduce congressional seats (and electoral votes) in mostly blue states (27 percent of such immigrants are in California) and shift power away from cities. Republicans generally say, however, that the Constitution should be construed according to the text’s original meaning. Forced to choose between power and principle, well… [Emphasis added]

Before the Supreme Court takes up the issue, two lower courts in California and Maryland have ruled that illegal aliens must be included in the counts.

This week, Census Bureau officials said they will not have the counts needed for the apportionment until late into January, by which time Trump may have already left office, depending on the final outcome of the presidential election. Democrat Joe Biden is almost certain to reverse the memorandum.

States such as Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia are projected to lose congressional seats if the illegal alien population is included in congressional apportioning.

Today, there are an estimated 11 million to 22 million illegal aliens living in the U.S. The Census estimates that based on current legal and illegal immigration levels, by 2060 about one-in-six residents will have been born outside the country.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder


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