GOP platform says only legal residents should be counted in census

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Republican platform says the next census should only count legal residents of the U.S.

The language says the proposed restriction would affect how congressional seats are apportioned. That would amount to a reinterpretation of the Constitution, which says seats should be apportioned to states "according to their respective numbers.

Michigan Republican Candice Miller has proposed a constitutional amendment specifying that congressional representation should be determined by counting the number of U.S. citizens in a state. She argues that states with a large number of illegal immigrants gain unfair representation.

An advocacy group for Hispanic Americans says while John McCain "has a great track record" on immigration issues, he is being undercut by the party's positions. Cecilia Munoz of the National Council of La Raza says "the census language manages to be both unconstitutional and insulting."

The Census Bureau says its mandate is "to count all residents regardless of legal status."

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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