Recently, the Supreme Court of the U.S. (SCOTUS)  unanimously ruled that undocumented immigrants and other unauthorized residents will be counted towards their legislative district totals. This will reportedly give those districts with undocumented residents more representation in elections.

Undocumented people living in the U.S. aren’t granted any voting rights by the ruling. However, their presence now counts for something in their districts. Those districts that have grown (and in some cases have surged in numbers) due to immigration will now receive more representation by government leaders.

SCOTUS Explains its Ruling

courthouse pillars in the sun
courthouse pillars in the sun

Many undocumented immigrants and unauthorized residents come and live here in America, work and pay taxes, marry and have families but can still feel alienated by their political status here in the states. Their “noncitizen” status puts them in political purgatory, because they can feel helpless about having a say in the political process in their newfound homeland.

State and Federal officials have been arguing the issue of amnesty and the path to citizenship for illegal immigrants for years, so it’s only natural that these types of decisions take painstaking time and consensus decisions to lay the groundwork for what is best for everyone involved.

 As the Framers of the Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment comprehended, representatives serve all residents, not just those eligible or registered to vote…Nonvoters have an important stake in many policy debates — children, their parents, even their grandparents, for example, have a stake in a strong public-education system — and in receiving constituent services, such as help navigating public-benefits bureaucracies.- Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote about her decision1

Representation Afforded by Supreme Court May Someday be Decided by Voters

The whole process of drawing up, dividing and deciding the number of representatives for a district is called apportionment. The Supreme Court justices even talked about the possibility of putting the decision of apportionment in the hands of the electorate, but decided not to make a ruling on that issue at this time.

“There is no single ‘correct’ method of apportioning state legislatures,” Justice Clarence Thomas said in his opinion.

Apportionment, claim dissenting opinions of those who don’t want illegal immigrants counted, is a political privilege. Counting undocumented and unauthorized residents in our apportionment process dilutes the “one-person, one-vote” principle whereby giving some voters in one district more political power because of the total number of people counted than those in another with fewer immigrants.2

There’s no doubt that this Supreme Court ruling is a victory for immigrants living here in America, so they should take some comfort in knowing that they have value and political clout despite the fact they may not yet have the right to vote.

Contact a Los Angeles Immigration Lawyer at the Hanlon Law Group, P.C.

When you need experienced help securing any type of immigration status change in the U.S., it’s time to contact a Los Angeles immigration lawyer at the Hanlon Law Group, P.C. You can call us at (626) 684-3712 or (866) 227-5527 or send us an email using the contact form on this page.