Sen. Vitter: Reid wants illegals counted in Census

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), who is sponsoring an amendment to an appropriations bill that would require illegal immigrants list their status on next year's Census, said late Wednesday that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) wants them counted amongst the general population instead.

The senator claimed that Reid wants illegals to be counted in the 2010 Census so that left-leaning states with high illegal immigrant populations could increase the size of their congressional delegations. The Census is a major factor in determining the each state's share of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives.

"I think it's pretty clear that Harry Reid and the Democratic side...wants illegals counted in the Census, wants illegals in the reapportionment of the House," Vitter said on a conservative talk radio show late yesterday.

Vitter, who is co-sponsoring the measure with Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah), claimed that illegals counted in the 2000 Census allowed California to maintain up to five additional seats in Congress they should not have.

"It is somewhat out of whack. California probably has four, maybe five more U.S. House seats than they would otherwise have as a result of that," he said. "Basically states with large illegal populations, starting with California, are rewarded and other states are penalized."

Vitter claimed that Reid was "going through somersaults" to block a vote on the controversial amendment to prevent the possibility of Democratic senators from states with low illegal immigrant populations from voting for the amendment. The senator said that Democratic senators from states that would be hurt by including illegals would be tempted to vote for the amendment.

"[Reid] is going through somersaults right now to prevent there being a direct vote on this amendment because it would be very difficult for those Democratic sens to vote against it,"he said.

He named Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, North Carolina, and his home state of Louisiana as states that could lose House seats should illegals be counted as legal immigrants next year. Mississippi and Maine do not have Democratic senators.

The Senate voted no on Tuesday on a cloture vote for the Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill to which the amendment is attached. The vote temporarily prevented the bill from being brought to a floor vote without consideration for Vitter's amendment.