By Andrew Schneider/Houston Public Media
MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
People of color accounted for virtually all of Texas’ population growth over the past 10 years, yet when lawmakers meant to redraw the state’s congressional maps, they actually created more white-majority districts. The Justice Department is now suing Texas for violating the voting rights of its Latino and Black citizens, but the suit only makes passing mention of one of the state’s fastest-growing racial groups - Asian Americans. Houston Public Media’s Andrew Schneider has more.
ANDREW SCHNEIDER, BYLINE: Fort Bend County, southwest of Houston, sits at the heart of Texas’ 22nd Congressional District. It’s home to the state’s biggest Asian American population, including large numbers of immigrants. So when the Texas Legislature met to redraw congressional maps, many Asian Americans hoped Texas-22 would reflect that. But that didn’t happen, says Nabila Mansoor.
NABILA MANSOOR: What’s actually happened is that, even though we’ve seen the population grow and really been charged by immigrants, those lines, when they were redrawn, have been redrawn in a way such that it’s actually diluted our power.
DAVID VRSHEK: You know, they complain about redistricting in Texas, and at the same time, they’re - they turn a blind eye to redistricting in Illinois and other places.
SCHNEIDER: The Princeton Gerrymandering Project, associated with Princeton University, gave Illinois’ congressional maps an F for partisan fairness, the same failing grade it gave Texas. Meanwhile, the Justice Department is moving ahead with its lawsuit against Texas with scant reference to the Asian American community. But the community may have its day in court yet. The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund has filed its own legal challenge to the state’s redistricting plans, saying CD-22 is a prime example of anti-Asian discrimination.
For NPR News, I’m Andrew Schneider in Houston.
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