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Undocumented immigrants to boost Florida political power?

A new study finds that the population of undocumented immigrants could boost the number of Congressional seats in the Southern border states - Florida, Arizona and Florida - at the expense of Northern and Midwestern states like Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio and New York.

That's because neither the U.S. Constitution nor the Census Bureau differentiates between citizens and non-citizens for the population count used to draw congressional maps.

The report by the Connecticut State Data Center at the University of Connecticut suggests that Florida stands to gain 3 congressional seats in 2010 - the next time congressional districts are redrawn - if the undocumented are counted. New York and Ohio would each lose 2 seats. The study, though, shows Florida picking up 2 new seats, even if the undocumented were excluded.

"Large undocumented (non-voting) populations have the net impact of both shifting seats to immigrant destination states and providing citizens in those states more voting power than citizens in non-destination states," says the study authored by demographer Orlando Rodriguez. "These twin influences raise conflicting questions on the foundation of political representation versus the inclusivenss of American society."

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