College Park, Maryland is considering something that may seem odd. No, it’s downright wrong. They’re considering allowing noncitizens to vote in the upcoming elections for mayor, city council, and other local offices. Why? Well, apparently noncitizens should have a voice concerning how trash is collected, how snow is cleaned up, and how resources for parks are allocated. The city says there’s precedent for these actions (via NYT):
In College Park, home to the University of Maryland’s flagship campus, the City Council is debating a measure introduced by Councilwoman Christine Nagle that would give noncitizens — a broad category that includes green card holders, students with visas and undocumented immigrants — the right to cast ballots for the city’s mayor, council members and other local officials.
Startling though it may seem, the proposal has extensive precedent both in the United States and worldwide: Forty states used to allow noncitizen voting, and dozens of countries currently do.
Many opponents of such measures say they would devalue citizenship, perhaps leading fewer immigrants to seek it. Others argue that it would diminish the voting process by including people who are not invested in or loyal to America.
“The feedback that I’ve gotten from my residents in District 4 has been almost overwhelming against the proposed change in our charter,” said Councilwoman Mary C. Cook, who noted that her husband and brother were naturalized citizens.
Many of her constituents, Ms. Cook said, believe that before voting, people should “be in the country for a certain length of time so they can acquire a familiarity with the city, the country, the language, and pledge their allegiance to America.”
The vote for this measure was postponed until September 12, but this is ridiculous. Only citizens should be allowed to vote period. It is the dilution of citizenship. It is a slap in the face to the immigrants who have waited, worked hard, and paid the legal fees to go through the process of becoming American citizens. Period. And if they think that other liberal cities and Demcoratic-dominated legislatures won't consider this to boost their margins, they're not living in the real world. Of course, they will try. The Times added that four cities in Massachusetts have passed a similar measure, but it cannot go into effect until the legislature passes a new law.