Immigration Reform Could Have Massive Impact on Election Math
While the passage of any potential immigration reform bill seems far off in the distance, the Center for Immigration Studies has released a new report detailing the game-changing effects that bringing in millions of new voters would have on elections. Chief among them, losses of congressional seats in middle America and gains on the coasts. Another major effect would be allowing illegal immigrants to eventually vote, which could move states like Arizona into the blue.
The report points out that bringing illegal immigrants out of the dark wouldn’t in itself affect electoral college math since illegal immigrants are already counted in the Census. According to the report, “the inclusion of illegal immigrants in the 2010 Census caused Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, and Ohio to each lose a seat, while Texas and Florida each gained a seat and California gained two seats.”
The report also notes that the proposed bill would double legal immigration which would bring about 14.2 million new residents by 2030, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Analyst Nate Silver points out, however, that the Hispanic population has been growing steadily while the white population has been falling around the country for a while anyway.
According to Silver, the electorate is now only 72 percent white, down from 81 percent in 2000. Based on estimates that the Hispanic population will continue to grow at around 3 percent per year, the Hispanic vote would be 12 percent higher by next presidential election, immigration bill or not. The immigration bill would only affect voting after a 13-year path to citizenship anyway.
An analysis by Blue The Nation notes that there are 400,000 undocumented immigrants in Arizona, a state that Mitt Romney won by just 220,000 votes. Of course, not every Hispanic voter would have voted for Obama. In total, 71 percent of Hispanic voters voted Obama over Romney in 2012. Not only that but Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Carmona lost his 2012 race by just 80,000 votes and certainly would have won with just a fraction of those votes.
Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina are already trending more to the left and would add hundreds of thousands of Hispanic voters to the rolls, potential becoming true blue states. There are 1.7 million undocumented immigrants in Texas, immigration reform could even put the longtime Republican stronghold into play.
(Image courtesy of Nevele Otseog)