Early U.S. Census data and its implications for immigration reform

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FILE – This March 19, 2020, file photo, shows an envelope containing a 2020 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident. On Wednesday, March 24, 2021, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the state of Ohio that tried to get the U.S. Census Bureau to provide data used for drawing congressional and legislative districts ahead of its planned release. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — New U.S. Census data suggests that, although Texas is experiencing growth, the rest of the country is not.

“This is the slowest amount of growth that we’ve seen since the (Great) Depression,” said Richard Pineda, director of the Sam Donaldson Center for Communication Studies at the University of Texas at El Paso. 

Early census data released on Monday reveals that Texas’ rate of growth will lead to two more Congressional seats as the result of 4 million new residents.

“Texas got two more seats, which means our population is moving steadily upward,” Pineda said. 

The number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives is 435 and cannot change, meaning Texas’ new seat comes at the loss for another state, California.

“This means that the traditional move to population centers in California have slowed down to a certain extent,” he said.

Population growth across the country continues to decline as older generations pass away and others do not have children. Flattened populations lead to gaps in social sectors such as the workforce, which some say can be filled via immigration reform.

“An issue when you start talking about immigration reform because there is and should be some conversation about how to replace those populations,” said Pineda. “At a certain point, it comes down to bodies being able to do work.”

A common argument against immigration reform is that jobs will be taken from American laborers, but the census data suggests the U.S. needs workers from anywhere.

“It’s less about what areas or fields these folks grow into but that you’re going to need people in the population,” said Pineda.

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