In a proposed redistricting map released on Monday, Texas lawmakers introduced a map that racially gerrymanders, the biggest city in the state. In Houston, if approved, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18) and U.S. Rep. Al Green (TX-9), two long serving members in Congress, would have to campaign against each other for Texas’ ninth district.
In a letter to the Texas Senate redistricting committee, Reps. Lee and Green call the map “unnecessary surgery” to the region’s Black communities that smacks of “racial discrimination,” according to a report by the Houston Chronicle.
The two members also said the map “makes radical and unneeded changes to the two local congressional districts that include the majority of Black voters in Harris and Fort Bend counties.”
Right now, the district nine demographics are 40 percent Black, 35 percent Hispanic, 13 percent Anglo, and 11 percent Asian. While Lee’s current 18th district demographics are 50 percent Hispanic, 35 percent Black, 10 percent Anglo, and 4 percent Asian.
Both Lee and Green have served in Congress for years covering a wide variety of issues including voting rights, criminal justice reform, and reproductive rights. The members also claim they were not notified of the new redrawing of their districts before it was released to the public.
The map would also add a new 38th congressional district on the northside of Houston with a majority white demographic. If approved the new 38th district would have a 50 percent Anglo population, 26 percent Hispanic population, and around 11 percent Black and Asian population.
For context, this new congressional district in Houston would increase the Republican representation for a majority Democratic favored county.
Additionally, neither of the two newly added congressional districts show a Hispanic majority even though the Hispanic population in Texas increased to 39 percent in 2020 according to the census.