Every single day, millions of illegal immigrants participate in our democracy. No, not just on Election Day, but everyday in Congress. “How is this possible” you might ask, because the U.S. isn’t a direct democracy (a representative republic, in fact). Well, the answer lies in a surprising place: the U.S. Census.

Ever wondered how you are represented in Congress? Every 10 years, the U.S. government takes a census of its citizens. They ask some basic questions such as age and race to get some basic demographic information of the country. They also record the population.

This is how they choose how many seats each state gets in the House of Representatives. The House, unlike the Senate, is proportional. They base how many seats a state gets in the House based on how many people live in that state. Then, they split up a state by congressional districts.

However, one question they don’t ask on the census is your immigration status. This means that an illegal immigrant, while they “can’t vote,” can shift just as much congressional power as a legal immigrant can to the area where they live. For instance, the Huffington Post reported that if illegal immigrants were excluded from the most recent 2010 census, four states would lose congressional seats.

These states include California, which would lose two seats, and New York, Ohio, and New Jersey, which would each lose one seat each. Just think about it, illegal immigrants control 5 out of the 538 seats in congress! That’s more than South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming combined! This also affects the Presidential election because the electoral votes that each state possess are based on the number of representatives in congress.

So, the next time you hear that “3 million illegals voted in our election,” understand that this is false because, through the backdoor, all illegals in America did!

Bronson Lynn is a freshman at ETSU studying Physics.