Gerrymandering, identity politics, and amnesty

John "Lee" Ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry

By John Ruberry

President Obama’s point man on “comprehensive immigration reform,” which is nothing more than a pseudonym for amnesty for illegal aliens, is fellow Chicagoan Luis Gutierrez, a Democrat who represents Illinois’ gerrymandered fourth congressional district.

Last week Gutierrez, while speaking at a convention of the far-left La Raza (The Race) last week, said Hispanic voters need to head to the ballot box to “punish” Americans such as myself who don’t believe in open borders and who, in his words, want to
“criminalize children who come to our border.”

Well, when these kids, regardless of their circumstances, cross our border they are breaking the law.

It was a busy week for Gutierrez. After his La Raza outburst, he said on MSNBC that through executive orders, President Obama could legalize “three or four, maybe even five million people.”

Gutierrez views himself as an Hispanic congressman, not as a congressman who is Hispanic. Stick with me on this one–who can blame him?

After the 1990 decennial remap, an Hispanic majority district was drawn that was centered mostly in Chicago. But creating  the district was problematic. Hispanics in Chicago were concentrated in two pockets–one on the northwest side of the city, at the other on the southwest side. Between those areas was–and still is–Chicago’s predominantly-black West Side. So the cartographers created what Roll Call dubs “the Latin earmuffs,” which has only been represented by Gutierrez. Only minor changes have been made in the following remaps to the shape of the district.

The Latin Earmuffs

So of course Gutierrez looks into his mirror each morning sees an Hispanic congressman.

But if districts in Illinois were drawn as they are in neighboring Iowa–by a computer that only takes population into account–the fourth might instead be, to swipe a phrase from Jesse Jackson, a rainbow coalition district. Perhaps Gutierrez would still be its representative. But rather than bowing to identity politics, Gutierrez would serve Illinois as a congressman who is Hispanic.

And that is as it should be.

 John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.