In the roughly 10 years that I've been reading about immigration issues, I don't recall hearing about this one. If it has been covered before, it has not been hammered enough to be one of the facts that everyone knows.
Each state sends two Senators to the upper house of Congress. The number that it sends to the lower House of Representatives is proportional to its population -- we've all heard that before.
But what we didn't realize was that all residents count toward this population measure -- including illegal immigrants, foreigners legally here on student visas, and any other group of non-citizens, none of whom can vote for the Representatives or for President. It's simply how many people wake up and go to sleep in that state, regardless of their citizenship status.
The Census' website has a FAQ that admits this openly, and even has a separate question just about illegal aliens, saying that they do indeed count toward the population estimate that determines how many Representatives that state will send to Congress.
It gets worse: the number of Electoral College votes that a state gets is equal to the number of Congressmen they have. Each state gets 2 for their Senators; the variable number of Representatives is what makes one state's vote for President weigh more or less heavily in the final count.
Thus, states that have large non-citizen populations wield a disproportionate influence in the House of Representatives, and in the Presidential election. And because the number of Representatives is fixed (at 435), when a foreigner-heavy state gains more influence, it must take influence away from other states that are light on foreigners.
It gets even worse: this creates a positive feedback loop, whereby a state brings in hordes of non-citizens, which gives them more Representatives in Congress and greater power over choosing the President. They wield this greater influence over government to change the laws and their enforcement so that more and more foreigners flood into that state. Which boosts their population further, which gives them more influence, which they use to bring in more foreigners, etc etc etc. Pretty soon California and Texas control the entire country.
Here is a map of Congressional districts by degree of non-citizen presence (red means foreigner-heavy):
The entire West, beginning with Texas, has been stealing influence from the citizen-heavy areas back East, with the exception of the highly urbanized Atlantic coastline. Appalachia and small-town New England have taken the biggest clobbering; the Midwest and non-urban South have been pretty well robbed also. If you've been wondering why these places seem less and less influential in national politics, that's why.
It's not just that California has a large population -- between 10-15% of it is non-citizens. They wield 55 votes in the Electoral College now (far more than any other state), and that should be closer to 45 -- still reflecting the large population of actual citizens there, but discounting the hordes of cheap foreign labor they've brought in, along with massive numbers of foreign students at their many colleges, the legal H1-B visa workers taking white-collar jobs from Americans in Silicon Valley, and so on and so forth.
The WP article that the map comes from discusses an open Supreme Court case (Evenwel v. Abbott) about how the Congressional district lines ought to be drawn -- to include a similar number of people in each district, should they count all residents, only citizens, etc.?
They are not challenging the larger point, though, that huge numbers of non-citizens give the state an unfair number of Representatives and Electoral College votes. According to the 14th Amendment, population is reckoned only by the number of "persons" -- not "citizens". In its original context of the mid-19th Century, there were no hordes of foreign non-citizens. There were the white citizens and the citizens who were newly freed slaves.
Fast-forward to now, where several Sun Belt states have over 10% of their population as non-citizens, and it's a whole 'nother ball game. We need a Constitutional Amendment to make Congressional apportionment (and therefore Electoral College votes) a function only of the citizen population.
Otherwise we're back to the Three-Fifths Compromise that was repealed by the 14th Amendment. During the nation's founding, the Southern plantation owners didn't want their slaves to be able to vote or enjoy other benefits of citizenship, but then that would shrink their state's influence in Congress and in voting for the President, since so much of their population was slaves. So a deal was worked out where the slaves would not be citizens, but they would count toward the population used for Congressional apportionment, at three-fifths of their actual number.
That gave the Southern states undue federal-level influence, especially over matters related to slavery. It was win-win for them -- non-citizen labor, but greater control over the federal government. Eventually that tension led to the Civil War, and in the aftermath the Three-Fifths Compromise was replaced by the 14th Amendment, where every person counted toward the total population, but where they were now citizens allowed to vote.
Today, the immigrant-heavy areas are like the old slave plantations -- the local elites enjoy cheap labor from foreigners who cannot vote and are not citizens, yet these laborers beef up the population totals and allow the local elites more national power. It's even worse than the slavery system, since the slaves were only counted at three-fifths their number -- today the non-citizens count at 100% of their numbers.
The other logically consistent but socially suicidal solution would be to give amnesty to the non-citizens. Then their numbers would legitimately count toward how much influence their state gets at the national level.
We keep seeing attempts to push through an amnesty, always led by the immigrant-heavy states. I'm starting to think that they don't actually care if it goes through or not, though. Remember, the elites in a foreigner-heavy state are like the slave-owners of the old South -- they get all that extra influence in government, without having to treat the foreigners as citizens.
In particular, that means that the politicians won't have to learn how to appeal to a new constituency of amnestied immigrants. Maybe they could do it, or maybe they couldn't, and would be replaced by more immigrant-savvy or ethnically-connected rival politicians. Who knows how the newly enfranchised immigrants would vote on all manner of things, potentially re-shaping the political landscape and making it a nightmare for the established elites to find their way through.
It's better for the politicians and their elite constituents if the political ecosystem stays predictable and "more of the same". They can keep their jobs and won't have to learn new tricks. But by boosting the overall population (through more and more non-citizens), the national policies they pursue will have an even greater weight behind them.
Importing hordes of foreigners is a force-multiplier at the national political level that does not entail any extra political costs at the district or state level.
Therefore, I don't think the goal of the immigrant-importing politicians, and the elites they represent, is to "replace the American electorate" with foreigners, who will be more favorable at the voting booth to the immigrant-friendly politicians. I've heard that a lot, and it makes some sense, but only if the immigrants get amnesty and then turn out to vote for those who gave them amnesty.
And yet the amnesty hasn't gotten through over all these years (not since 1986), and these politicians surely know that the Mexicans and other groups do not bother voting even when they are citizens. Politicians stand to gain almost nothing at the voting booth from illegals by giving them amnesty.
Rather, the goal of the elites and their political representatives is simply to keep to politics as usual, only with a great big force-multiplier behind it. Increase total population while not drawing qualitatively new groups into the electorate. Then you won't have to worry about how millions of Mexicans, with Mexican sensibilities, may vote down a California law protecting the environment.
This would seem to explain why there's a constant back-and-forth over amnesty, with no victory for the immigrant-heavy states. They must have an understanding on all sides that the amnesty battle is purely symbolic, empty, and ritualistic. They'll fight over it, stalemate, and each side goes home declaring victory. The anti-amnesty side gets to gloat over preserving the rule of law to their constituents, while the pro-amnesty side gets to gloat over their force-multiplier remaining intact without the system being disrupted by masses of new citizens from a different background coming into the electorate.
Long story short, we need to deport the illegals, anchor babies, and their extended families that were brought in under false pretenses (uniting with a "citizen," i.e. the anchor baby). Build the wall, enforce the border. That would solve most of the problem right there -- then the immigrant-heavy states would lose huge numbers of their total population, and would lose many of their Representatives and Electoral College votes, while the citizen-heavy states would gain them back.
But that's not a permanent solution. We don't want to be in a situation 100 years from now, when the pro-immigrant side has gained the upper hand again, and there are 15% of Californians who are non-citizens, with the Sun Belt wielding disproportionate influence all over again. We need a simple Constitutional Amendment that says Congressional apportionment is to be based on the number of citizens, not just persons or residents.
Only then can we have an American government for the Americans.