New York Lawmaker Proposes Letting Illegal Immigrants Vote

Christine Rousselle

6/17/2014 1:00:00 PM - Christine Rousselle

New York state Senator Gustavo Rivera has proposed a bill that would grant non-citizens (both legally and illegally residing in the state) the right to vote in state and local elections, serve on a jury, and receive a driver's license, among other benefits that were typically reserved for citizens.

The bill is titled the New York Is Home Act, and is the first in the nation that would grant this full slate of benefits to illegal immigrants who can prove that they have lived in the state and paid taxes for a minimum of three years.

The bill would provide benefits to illegal immigrants and other non-citizens who could prove they have resided in New York for at least three years and have been paying taxes for as long. They would also have to take an oath to uphold the state's constitution and laws, and pledge their willingness to serve on a jury, according to the bill summary.

While several states allow illegal immigrants to receive driver's licenses, and a few municipalities have considered allowing non-citizens to vote, this bill is described by Rivera as the broadest proposed legislation [being debated] in regards to extending benefits to both legal and illegal non-citizen residents of New York.

Rivera has admitted that he does not think his bill will pass in the current legislative session, but rather he hopes that this bill will spark a conversation about immigration reform.

While the American immigration system is certifiably broken, does it really make sense to continue to add incentives for people to cross the border illegally?