When House seats are redistributed among the states after the 2010 census, immigrants -- legal and illegal -- will play a key role in the shift of perhaps nine seats to Sun Belt states from those in the Northeast and Midwest. That trend will only gain steam, say demographers at the Brookings Institution and Population Reference Bureau, two Washington think tanks that analyzed U.S.A few states that have gone to the GOP in the recent past stand to be the biggest winners. Florida is projected to gain nine additional seats (and electoral college votes), Texas will net eight, and Arizona is set to pick up five. It's unlikely that Texas or Arizona will shift from blue to red in the near future. Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia, all of which will seats, probably won't either. But Florida and Nevada (another gainer) have been 'swing' states that will likely become reliably Democratic in the next fifteen years.
Census Bureau projections. After the 2030 census, they predict, Florida, where almost one in five residents is an immigrant, will add seven congressional seats. California, which has 9.6 million immigrants, will add two. And Texas, which added 788,000 immigrants between 2000 and 2005, will gain eight.
Several upper-Midwestern states hemorrhage a couple of seats, while the Northeast--especially New York--takes a pounding of its own.
Despite the immediate electoral boost the GOP will receive, most of the new Congressional seats will go to Democrats. The foreign-born push up housing prices, depress wages (increasing wealth disparities), increase welfare recipiency, disproportionately benefit from special legal subsidies like affirmative action, tend to be less educated, less prosperous, and less white than natives, and live in urban areas at greater proportions than natives do. All of these attributes better characterize Democratic voters than Republican voters. Eventually the gains enjoyed in specific districts will morph into gains at the state level.
From the vantage point of one who at this point in time disagrees less with Democratic foreign policy than with the that of the Bush Administration, but who generally favors Congressional Republican domestic goals, the future promises the worst of both worlds.
The future might not portend only defeat for the GOP, however. The rigorous relationship (an r of .86) between white fertility and Bush's share of a state's vote in 2004, in tandem with the fact that about 80% of children end up voting in the same way their parents do, means that while the Hispanic population grows to the benefit of the Democratic Party, the GOP will increasingly become the party of white Americans.
Where does this new ethnically-divided political future leave blacks? Out in the cold:
The flow of new immigrants also could upset African-American representation in the House. University of Maryland professor James Gimpel, who studies African-American political power, says as many as six black House Democrats could lose their seats after the 2010 census. As it is, he says, Hispanics outnumber blacks in five districts now represented by blacks.That would represent a 14% reduction in the number of black representatives in the House. While blacks consistently support immigration restriction, the Democratic Party as a whole stands to gain too much from the new arrivals to back away from the Kennedy-McCain amnesty. And the guaranteed monolithic black vote provides little incentive for Democratic leaders to make good on black support for reform.
The $64,000 question is why the 'geniuses' at the RNC are seemingly eager to relegate their party to perpetual minority status. Immigration reform is a populist cause that finds broad support across the political spectrum. While the Iraq war cost the GOP dearly in the November '06 elections, Republican immigration restrictionists fared considerably better.