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News Briefs II

Study: Immigration Skews Congressional Reapportionment

The Washington Post

The biggest sustained wave of immigration in U.S. history is skewing Americans' representation in Congress, increasing the political clout of states with the largest influxes at the expense of other states, according to a new study.

In a report released Tuesday, the Center for Immigration Studies pinpoints recent immigration as a major factor in the reapportionment of seats in the House, a trend it says is effectively reducing the voting power of citizens in certain states and "redistributing political influence in Washington." An analysis of census data indicates 13 seats changed hands in 1990 or will do so in the next census because of immigration, the center says.

The Washington-based think tank, which advocates lower levels of immigration, makes no specific recommendations in its study but criticizes what it calls the "mass immigration" of recent years and suggests "a more moderate level" would mitigate the reapportionment.

With an influx of more than 15 million legal immigrants alone since 1980 and the tendency of newcomers to cluster together - 75 percent of all immigrants live in just six states - immigration is fueling much more rapid population increases in some places than in others. And because the 435 House seats are reapportioned every 10 years based, according to the Constitution, on each state's population - including citizens, legal immigrants and illegal aliens - this trend is shifting political representation to the states with the most immigrants, creating districts with relatively few voters.

Chiapas Voting Leaves PRI In Control of Local Government

Los Angeles Times

Despite one unexpected setback, the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party maintained its traditional domination of the troubled state of Chiapas in elections for the state legislature and town halls, according to nearly complete returns Monday.

Voting was far more peaceful than any election since the Zapatista uprising in January 1994. In many areas, more parties took part in Sunday's vote than in the last local vote in 1995, and voter turnout appeared to be little changed, at about 45 percent.

The ruling party appeared likely to again win 18 of the 21 state legislative seats at stake, although one was in dispute. Voters in San Juan de Chamula, a longtime PRI stronghold, refused to allow balloting. Chamulan residents, staunch Catholics, demanded the release of five men who were charged with murdering an evangelical church leader in the town, a demand that the governor rejected.

State officials said that they hadn't yet decided whether the failure to hold that local ballot would affect the district legislative election or the scheduled seating of the state assembly in November.

Apart from its rebuke in Chamula, the PRI was on its way to retaining virtually all of the 84 mayor's jobs it won in 1995. It also won back the important regional city of Ocosingo, east of San Cristobal de las Casas, from the left-wing Party of the Democratic Revolution, which is sympathetic to the goals of the Zapatista rebels.