Redress of grievances
This bit of news has caused a small stir in the blogosphere.
February 20, 2007 -- Immigrant-rights activists yesterday renewed their push to allow legal noncitizens to vote in the Big Apple.Betsy points out that the 15th ammendment specifically says citizens. Does the 15th apply to all elections, federal, state and local? Or do state constitutions or a city specify who has the right to vote in elections just restricted to them?
A bill that would grant permanent residents and other legal immigrants the right to vote in municipal elections has been stalled in the City Council since last year.
"More than 50,000 adult noncitizen taxpayers in those two districts are disenfranchised by citizenship voting laws," said Cheryl Wertz, of New Immigrant Community Empowerment, referring to today's special election for council seats in Brooklyn and Staten Island.
Councilman Charles Barron (D-Brooklyn), the sponsor of the Voting Rights Restoration Act, said that years ago, when immigrants were mostly European, they had voting rights.
"Then when the complexion of immigrants changes, then all of a sudden, the laws change," he said.
Ron Hayduk, a CUNY professor, concurred, saying immigrants voted in national elections from 1776 through 1926.
I'm no constitutional scholar, so if someone who can point me to the actual case law, leave me a comment.
Betsy also said-
If New York City wants to grant the right to vote to non-citizens in their local elections, that is their prerogative, but I wonder how the citizens who vote now in the city like the idea of their votes being diluted by non-citizens.
I don't really buy the dilution argument. Unless you assume all non-citizens will not have the same interests as a citizen in a state or local election. No group entirely votes as a bloc. You'll find differing opinions among all groups, conservative bloggers included.
Blogger Big Dog writes-
Let me try to clear this up for these ingrates. You pay taxes here because you have a job here. Paying taxes does not give you the right to vote being a citizen does. You are paying taxes because we were nice enough to let you come here and earn a living. If you would like, you are free to leave here and go back to whatever third world crap hole you came from and earn 50 cents a day selling your sister in peep shows.
The US Constitution discusses voting in several places and each of the places starts with the words “The right of citizens of the United States…” Understand? Citizens have the right to vote and non citizens do not. It is really quite simple and if you were not so busy trying to get something to which you are not entitled then you might have a bit more time to study for a citizenship test so you can become a citizen.
I really am tired of groups of people who are not citizens of this country telling us what they want and making demands.
BD is good at quoting the constitution, but there is also the matter of the 1st ammendment. Which allows both freedom of speech and redress of greivances. That applies to citizens and non-citizens alike.
Legal resident aliens have a right to speak what they wish, even try to persuade lawmakers to change the voting requirements. TFM agrees with Betsy and One Dog that citizens should have the right to vote, I just don't see why the outrage over non-citizens trying to change the requirements.(If they can) After all this is a free country.
What I see here in the blogosphere is a backlash against all immigrants, legal and illegal. People can be all emotional about this being us and them. But the US needs legal immigrants, the population of this country is aging. That's a fact and without these people this country will not be able to keep its standard of living. Not today but in 50-75 years. Does the US want to follow the path of these two countries?
Disclosure- TFM's wife is a naturalized US citizen. Dear wife, who was born in the Philippines, and I met while I was in the Navy. We married in 1989. Dear Wife became a citizen on January 25th 1994.
I also have a sister-in-law and mother-in-law living in the US. Both came to the US legally and have since become citizens of this country.
By the way, my wife is the Republican in the house. My SIL and MIL are also registered Republicans. TFM is a registered Democrat. So there goes the all immigrants are democrats theory. ;)
Iowa Voice and Public Secrets are also blogging on this news.
Linked to- Blue Star, Right Wing Nation, Third World County,