A little Maryland city drew national interest this week for allowing non-citizens which includes illegal immigrants to cast ballots in local elections – but it’s just the latest municipality to do so, in a trend that has a few worried the changing definition of ‘voter’ could erode what it means to be a resident.
“ It’ s the slippery slope, ” said Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation regarding American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
College Recreation area, which approved the policy Wednesday, became the 11th municipality within Maryland alone to allow non-citizens in order to vote in local races.
Followers cast the change as an essential step.
“ To me, expanding entry to the right to vote in our town is something that expands our local community voice, not something that contracts this, ” Mayor Patrick Wojahn mentioned, according to the Washington Post.
College Park Councilmember Fazlul Kabir tried to rein within the measure. He said he launched two amendments— one, to hold off the vote to give the council additional time to speak with constituents, and an additional to only allow green-card holders in order to participate in local elections. Both changes were struck down.
Kabir mentioned he did not vote at all.
“ Our problem was about the procedure. I think all of us went too fast, and didn’ big t give our residents a chance to speak— that was my frustration, ” Kabir told Fox News on Fri. “ It is a very heavy subject matter and we have to be very careful. ”
Kabir informed Fox News that he sees each “ good things” and “ risk” in allowing non-citizens in order to vote.
“ The good thing is that it gives a lot more residents the chance to make elected individuals more responsible, more accountable, ” Kabir said. “ But the danger is that this could be a slippery slope— other cities can do this, as well as the change could trickle down above College Park to counties plus states, and it could even become a nationwide issue. That’ s the risk I had been feeling. ”
Wojhan did not respond to Sibel News’ request for comment.
The practice currently goes well beyond College Recreation area.
Apart from a couple towns that permitted the practice beforehand, the generous enclave of Takoma Park kicked off the trend in Maryland in 1992 when it began to allow non-citizens to vote in mayoral plus city council elections. Several other towns and towns followed.
Where it’s actual allowed, non-citizen voting only pertains to local races— non-citizens cannot election in federal elections.
San Francisco furthermore plans to allow non-citizens to election in local board of schooling races beginning in 2018. In Ma, both Amherst and Cambridge have got moved to introduce non-citizen voting and they are awaiting approval, according to the Massachusetts State Home News Service .
For the past couple of years, New York City has weighed whether to permit non-citizens to participate in city polls.
But opponents like Mehlman, in whose group advocates for lower migration levels, call the shift a good “ assault on the whole concept of nationality and what it means. ”
“ If anyone who just wanders in has got the same right— and an equal right— on how this country is operate, then, essentially, the whole concept of area becomes meaningless, ” he mentioned.
And Jessica Vaughan, director associated with policy studies for the conservative Middle for Immigration Studies, called this “ one more form of erosion from the meaning of American citizenship. ”
“ Politicians should not dilute the election of citizens by allowing anyone who has no claim to this privilege, plus whose interests might conflict with all the interests of citizens, to election, ” Vaughan told Fox Information in an email. “ Besides, acquiring the right to vote is something that promotes legal immigrants to become citizens, that is beneficial to our country. ”
“It’s politics pandering of the worst kind, inch she said.
Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Sibel News. Follow her on Tweets at @brookefoxnews .