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Texas Republicans redrawn maps of the US House on Saturday night that will shore up their eroding dominance in the state’s fast-growing suburbs as voters turn away from the GOP.

In a crucial late-night vote in the Texas House, Republicans gave early sign-offs for new congressional boundaries, which will give them more breathing room after some close calls in 2018 and 2020, as well as for the GOP on limits. will open a new path. with Mexico.

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But in a preview of the legal challenges to come, Democrats spent hours calling the maps discriminatory and were blind to the growing number of the state’s Latino residents, who made up more than half of the nearly 4 million new Texans in the past decade. Many live around Dallas and Houston, where, under GOP-engineered maps, there will be no new district that gives Latinos a majority.

Republican State Representative Todd Hunter, who has presided over the redrawn maps in the House, defended the changes and said they follow the law.

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The maps will need final talks between the House and Senate in the coming days before being sent to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who is expected to sign.

The redrawn congressional districts would make it easier for many incumbents to hold on to their seats, but critics say they jeopardize the political influence of black and Hispanic communities, even as they Voters also drive Texas’s development. The new lines, a product of the redistribution process once a decade, create two new districts and make many less competitive for Republican lawmakers.

Texas was the only state to gain two congressional seats after the 2020 census, which showed that people of color accounted for more than 9 out of 10 new residents in Texas.

“Race is clearly the factor here,” Democratic State Rep. Rafael Enchia said how the maps were drawn. “Not partisanship, but race.”

An amendment by the Texas House during debate hours on Saturday would increase the number of Hispanic voters in two districts, but those changes would still have to go through a second round of approval.

Democrats and voting rights advocates are preparing to challenge the map in court in what will be another high-profile, high-stakes legal battle over Texas politics – already the center of controversies over abortion and voting rights.

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Republicans, who control both chambers of the legislature, have almost complete control over the redistribution process. They are working from maps that experts and courts have already declared in their favor, and the state has had to defend its maps in court after every redistribution since the Voting Rights Act took effect in 1965. .

But legal challenges this round face new obstacles—the first time since a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Texas and other states with a history of racial discrimination to require the Justice Department to scrutinize maps before they are approved. Not there. The plaintiff will now have to wait to file a claim and show that the maps were intentionally intended to discriminate on the basis of race. It is not unconstitutional to make maps to get political mileage for the engineer.

Republican State Sen. Joan Huffman, who wrote the maps and headed the Senate redistribution committee, told lawmakers they were “blind to the race.” She said her legal team made sure the proposal complied with the Voting Rights Act.

According to an Associated Press analysis of data gathered from last year’s election, the proposal would make 24 of the state’s 38 congressional districts safe Republican districts, with at least one additional newly rebuilt Democratic stronghold on the border with Mexico. will have the opportunity to take by the Texas Legislative Council. Currently, Republicans hold 23 of the state’s 36 seats.

Republicans with new strong gains include Rep. Van Teller, whose district of Dallas went for President Donald Trump last year by one percentage point. Under the new maps, Trump would have won the district by two points.

Representative Michael McCall, a Democrat who has aggressively targeted the past two cycles, will now represent a solidly pro-Trump district under lines that exclude the suburbs of Houston and liberal parts of Austin.

And a long, vertically drawn district stretching from the Rio Grande Valley to San Antonio that President Joe Biden won by just 2 percentage points will now lean slightly toward Trump voters.

In a late-night victory for a Democrat, U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat serving her 14th term, pulled her home back to her Houston district, almost completely restored to its former shape. had gone. So, so was the nearest district of US Representative Al Green, as both saw longstanding constituents of minority communities from their districts.

Texas lawmakers are also redrawing maps for their own districts, with Republicans following a similar plan that would keep their party in power in the State House and Senate. Those proposals are also expected to be sent to Abbott by next week.