How Gerrymandering Makes It Tougher to Pass Immigration Reform

Only a handful of Republicans in Congress have many Latinos in their districts.
Only a handful of Republicans in Congress have many Latinos in their districts.

Political gerrymandering is a major hurdle in passing immigration reform. After the 2010 Census, Congressional districts were designed to insure significant majorities for incumbents. This led to white districts getting significantly whiter. Today, only a couple of dozen Republicans in the House of Representative represent districts with Latino populations approaching the national average. According to Bloomberg News:

Four in five Republican House members represent districts with Hispanic populations below the national average of 16.7 percent for all districts.

Democrats, who often represent urban areas, remain much more likely to have a larger proportion of Hispanics in their districts. When all Republican districts are averaged together, the data show Hispanics account for 11.4 percent of the population, compared to 22.9 percent for Democrats.

In the 2012 presidential election, Latino voters represented 10 percent of the electorate, up from 9 percent four years earlier. Obama captured 71 percent of that vote, the exit polling showed, while Romney won 27 percent—down from the Republican share of 31 percent in 2008, 44 percent in 2004 and 35 percent in 2000.

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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.

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