Protecting Voter Equality from the Effects of Illegal Immigration and Ungoverned Legal Immigration
August 7, 2015
(Washington, D.C.) – The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has filed a friend-of-the-court brief (attached here) in Evenwel v. Abbott, a case scheduled for hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court next term. (Civil Action No. 14-940). IRLI’s brief is in support of the petitioners, Sue Evenwel and Edward Pfenninger, who seek to challenge the unequal method in which districts are drawn in their home state of Texas. Because Texas, like other states, creates its senate districts around “residents” instead of eligible voters, plaintiffs claim that more rural and suburban districts, such as theirs, are given less “electoral weight” than more urban districts, areas where the state’s vast immigrant-population tends to cluster. This, plaintiffs say, is violating the “one-person, one-vote” principle embodied in the Fourteenth Amendment.
In their supplemental brief filed today, IRLI argues that due to decades of mass immigration, legislative districts in states such as Texas do indeed have voter-population disparities and the resulting electoral inequality is not sustainable under the Constitution. Drawing districts around total population, the traditional methodology, has become outmoded and the vote-dilution effects experienced in districts with high citizen-populations will only worsen as the legal and illegal alien populations increase. In their brief, IRLI also argues that previous circuit court opinions, which have found that illegal aliens have a right to be counted in the representative base, neither comports with Supreme Court precedent nor with what the framers of the Constitution and Fourteenth Amendment intended.
Dale L. Wilcox, IRLI’s Executive Director, commented, “In light of the nation’s unprecedented noncitizen and illegal alien populations, states such as Texas will continue to see the votes of its citizens diluted and debased.” Wilcox continued, “As IRLI’s brief shows, mass immigration is not only a huge burden on the labor market and our natural environment but it affects the very core of our representative democracy. It is imperative that the Supreme Court restores electoral equality in the Great State of Texas.”