A far-left Democratic pol wants to give non-US citizens the right to vote in New York City — and if you don’t like it, he says, you can move.
The bill by Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Washington Heights) seeks to supersede state law and give green card and work visa holders the right to vote in local elections.
“This is not about a favor, this is about taxation without representation,” Rodriguez — who came to the Big Apple from the Dominican Republican at age 18 and has been a staunch supporter of expanded rights for illegal immigrants — claimed during Monday’s hearing on the measure.
He added: “If people have a problem with this, then they should move to another town or another country that has not been built by immigrants.”
And the measure, which was debated Monday, is no pipe dream, it has the support of 34 of 51 council members, enough to be passed.
But Mayor Bill de Blasio, who in 2014 signed “sanctuary city” legislation that bars official cooperation with federal immigration authorities, signaled Friday he might issue his first veto if the bill arrives on his desk.
“We’ve done everything that we could possibly get our hands on to help immigrant New Yorkers — including undocumented folks — but… I don’t believe it is legal,” he said during his weekly appearance on WNYC radio Friday.
“Our Law Department is very clear on this.”
During Monday’s hearing, the city’s chief democracy officer, Laura Wood, declined to take a position on the proposed legislation.
But Wood cited the Law Department in saying that it would likely violate Article II, Section 1 of the state constitution, which restricts voting in New York to US citizens who are 18 or older and have lived in New York at least 30 days.
Under the proposal, people who live in New York City and are legal permanent US residents — known as “Green Card” holders — or have visas that allow them to work in the US would be eligible to vote in elections for mayor, comptroller, public advocate, borough president and city council member.
Officials who oppose the plan on its merits include Councilman Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island), who said, “This really shows how far the Democratic Party has driven to the left.”
“I believe citizenship should matter and having someone reside here for 30 days and check some boxes shouldn’t entitle them to vote for the people who will tax us for the next generation,” he said.
Councilman Robert Holden (D-Queens) said, “Giving non-citizens the right to vote would greatly diminish the value of citizenship, as well as the incentive for immigrants to make the commitment to this country and become citizens.”
“Citizenship and suffrage must not be torn from each other,” he added.
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Queens) echoed that sentiment, adding that voting was “one of our most cherished rights and privileges.”
Councilman Steve Matteo (R-Staten Island) said, “Forget the fact that this bill is not likely to withstand a legal challenge, it diminishes the value of citizenship by giving away the right to vote to a broad swath of non-citizens, including some who have had their deportations stayed by a judge and given work authorizations as a technical matter, or others who are here to work and have no interest in becoming US citizens.”
Democratic mayoral nominee Eric Adams, the outgoing Brooklyn borough president, submitted written testimony in support of the bill.
“In a democracy, nothing is more fundamental than the right to vote and to say who represents you and your community in elected office,” he wrote. “Currently, almost one million New Yorkers are denied this foundational right.”
In response, Republican rival Curtis Sliwa said, “My opinion is ‘no.’ “
“The vote is a privilege of citizenship,” he added.
The council hasn’t yet scheduled a vote on the bill.
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