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The almost entirely left-wing New York City Council voted Thursday in favor of a controversial bill that’ll allow the city’s nearly million-strong population of ostensibly legal non-citizens to vote in future municipal elections.
The bill will allow non-citizens “who have lived in the city for at least 30 days and are legal permanent residents in the United States … to vote in races for mayor, public advocate, borough president and city council,” according to local station WABC.
This includes green card holders, immigrants with workers permits and, much more problematically, illegal aliens who are benefiting from former President Barack Hussein Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The only saving grace for the bill’s critics is that it doesn’t take effect until next year, meaning that non-citizens may not actually vote until 2023.
“The measure will take effect on January 1 and will make New York the largest jurisdiction in the country to expand voting rights to non-citizens,” according to WABC.
“Eligible non-citizens would be able to start registering to vote on December 9, 2022, and once registered, could begin voting in local elections as of January 9, 2023. The bill would also create an advisory group to provide recommendations regarding the implementation of this new municipal voting system.”
This provides the bill’s opponents with ample opportunity to appeal. And indeed, “Republicans” have “vowed to fight the measure in court, saying that the state constitution says ‘citizens’ can vote and that New York never intended to grant voting power to people who have only lived in the country for one month,” according to The Washington Post.
But it should be noted that the bill passed with only 33 “yes” votes, 14 “no” votes and two abstentions. Given that the council contains 47 Democrats and four Republicans, this means quite a few Democrats crossed over to vote “no,” which in turn goes to show just how controversial this measure is.
One black Democrat, Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo, fretted that the bill “will shift the city’s power dynamics and potentially weaken the black vote in neighborhoods such as Harlem, where residents are fighting gentrification.”
Republicans who spoke out meanwhile focused on concerns about election integrity.
In a statement, Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel excoriated the bill as “the product of a radical, power-hungry Democrat Party that will stop at nothing to undermine election integrity.”
“American citizens should decide American elections — full stop. … Allowing our elections to be decided by foreign citizens is unacceptable, and the RNC is looking closely at our legal options as we continue our fight to protect your ballot,” she said.
American citizens should decide American elections – full stop.
Today’s decision to allow non-citizens to vote in New York is the product of a radical, power-hungry Democrat Party that will stop at nothing to undermine election integrity. (1/2)
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) December 10, 2021
Allowing our elections to be decided by foreign citizens is unacceptable, and the RNC is looking closely at our legal options as we continue our fight to protect your ballot. (2/2)
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) December 10, 2021
Some Democrat council members shared this concern. One of them, Bronx Democrat Mark Gjonaj, warned that the bill “could make the city’s elections vulnerable to nefarious foreign threats or people who are ‘transient,'” according to the Post.
All Republican council members shared this concern as well, as did the New York Republican Party. During a press conference held about a week before the vote, party chair Nick Langworthy called the bill patently “unconstitutional.”
“This radical legislation is unconstitutional, un-American and downright dangerous. This not only will undermine the credibility of local city elections but will undoubtedly interfere with the integrity of state and national elections across New York State,” he said.
“Democrats do not get to create their own brand of citizenship to manipulate elections. This is unconditionally unconstitutional and we will use every legal method to make sure it’s stopped.”
Another concern is that the bill will only further incentivize more illegal migration. Speaking on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends First” the day after the state GOP’s press conference, former Trump-era ICE Director Ronald Vitiello argued that the addition of voting rights is just yet another “sanctuary” incentive.
“Driver’s license for people are here illegally, in-state tuition — all of those incentives, all of those things are going in the wrong direction in places like New York, where they’re essentially a sanctuary city,” he said.
“And having immigration rules and having enforcement around immigration protects all of us. And so adding benefits to people who are not citizens, like voting, I think is terrible.”
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) March 3, 2021
Host Carley Shimkus responded by noting that if President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” proposal makes it into law, the incentives for illegal migration will only double, triple, quadruple, while the incentives for legal immigration will decline.
“Tucked away in this ‘Build Back Better’ bill, there’s a provision that would allow amnesty to 6.5 million illegal immigrants. And it would allow them to give government benefits as well. And the concern among some Republicans is that would discourage legal immigration,” she said.
Supporters of the bill of course view things differently, of course.
“The New York City Council is making history. New York City must be seen as a shining example for other progressive cities to follow,” council member Ydanis Rodriguez, the bill’s primary sponsor, reportedly said.
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