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Senor Vitter y Senor Stonecipher

From the USA Today (bold mine):

Four of the eight states gaining House seats owe roughly half or more of their population gains over the last decade to Hispanics. They include Texas, which picks up four seats; Florida, which will add two seats; and Arizona and Nevada, picking up one seat apiece.

In Georgia and Washington state, which also gain one seat each, Hispanics combined with other minority groups accounted for a majority of their growth since 2000.

Among states losing House seats, Louisiana and New Jersey each would have posted a net population loss, and Michigan would have sustained bigger declines, if it hadn’t been for Hispanic growth. Latinos also made up roughly 60% or more of the growth in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa and Massachusetts— which each lose a seat — raising questions as to whether remaining districts in those states will need to accommodate emerging Hispanic voting blocs.

As you will probably recall, in late 2009, Senator Vitter led an effort to require that the 2010 Census only count United States citizens, which was soundly rejected and roundly criticized. Mr. Vitter pointed to analysis conducted by Shreveport-based pollster Eliot Stonecipher. T-P:

Louisiana, according to Vitter and Stonecipher, stands to lose a congressional district under the 2010 reapportionment unless the rules are redrawn to exclude noncitizens, a process that would depend on a hard count of the noncitizen population from the census.

In fairness to Mr. Stonecipher, he later criticized Senator Vitter’s attempt to place a citizenship question in the Census short form, and Mr. Vitter subsequently obliged and removed the language from his amendment.

Still, considering all of the indignation about potentially counting illegal immigrants and considering Mr. Vitter’s controversial commercial during last year’s Senate election (which featured a group of menacing-looking Hispanic actors crossing the border into the United States, only to be greeted with oversized checks from Democrats), it’s, at the very least, slightly ironic that the only reason Louisiana gained in population was because of Hispanic growth. Yes, we are still losing a Congressional seat, but so are several other states that also experienced huge increases in their Hispanic populations.

To our new Hispanic residents:

Welcome to the Great State of Louisiana. We are a diverse state with a rich history and deep ties to Spain, Latin America, and the Caribbean. We are happy you have decided to call Louisiana home. In Louisiana, we know diversity enriches our culture.

To be sure, we are not immune to divisiveness or racism by any means. It’s a shameful part of our past, and it would be foolish for us to overlook or excuse this. Less than twenty years ago, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan managed to receive over 38% of the vote for Governor.

Still, the vast majority of Louisianans are reasonable, fair-minded, good people. We know that you didn’t decide to adopt Louisiana because we’re a rich state. As you’ve probably gathered, there’s a ton of work that needs to be done here. Our coastline is evaporating. We’re facing a major budget shortfall, which directly threatens the quality of our education and our health care systems. We are still rebuilding from Katrina and Rita, and now, we’re also having to pick up from the BP oil disaster. Your decision to move to Louisiana, during one of the most challenging times in our modern history, is deeply appreciated. We need your time, talents, and energy, and we are thankful you’ve decided to contribute.

You may sometimes be confronted by people who mistakenly believe your presence in Louisiana threatens their livelihoods or undermines their hold on power. These people do not speak for Louisiana; they speak for themselves, out of jealousy, hated, and ignorance.

Those of us who love and celebrate Louisiana know that the very first Europeans to arrive here were from Spain, Panfilo de Narváez and, a few years later, Hernando de Soto. We know that Louisiana was once a colony of Spain, and we understand how profoundly our culture has been affected by Caribbean immigrants.

So again, welcome to Louisiana. Welcome home.

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