The brand-new York City Council’s current decision to provide some 800,000 noncitizens the ideal to vote might, top top the surface, seem just and appropriate. After ~ all, those legit city residents deserve to be said to endure (high) taxes without representation. Yet this stark exit from historical precedent has a number of serious flaws for those that truly believe in “e pluribus unum” — a country whose voter share essential public ideals.

As a useful matter, the council action allows these new voters, such as illegal immigrants, to run the line of those who have waited because that years to prepare to come to be citizens. It is a procedure that takes up to 3 years for those that have already qualified because that the “green card” hosted by legit immigrants. Coming to be a citizen calls for one to pay a $725 fee and pass a 100-question citizenship test — a procedure designed to make sure brand-new voters space exposed to simple American background and principles.

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The test that the council is allowing brand-new voters to skip is not some formality. That tests knowledge with which any American voter have to be familiar. First, it’s readily available only in English — which any immigrant with really hopes of achieving financial success will have to master and also which binding the nation together culturally. Just as important, however, is the contents of the test. The council apparently feels it’s not crucial for voters to know about the invoice of Rights; the the U.S. Constitution is the supreme regulation of the land; to have the ability to define freedom of religion; to know what the branches of government are; or the name of your state capital.


There’s a lot much more than what is provided above. Shot taking the test you yourself or checking to view if her high school-age child deserve to pass. The allude is this: The citizenship test is no voter suppression. It’s crucial basic preparation for one to end up being an notified voter.

It additionally includes what is still referred to as an oath that allegiance. The language is powerful and consists of a pledge not unlike the which a new president swears “that I will certainly support and defend the Constitution and laws the the United claims of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic (and) that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.” In moving naturalization ceremonies hosted regularly across the country, brand-new citizens raise your hands to take an oath, having studied and also saved because that the chance to perform so. The brand-new York City the supervisory board is telling them it no necessary, devaluing your achievement. 

The ideal course of action for local federal government — and also civil society community groups, as well — is to encourage legal immigrants to come to be citizens. That’s what new York’s well known settlement homes did throughout our last an excellent wave of immigrant at the rotate of the 20th century. Those regional leaders interpreted that common political principles — as unique from political see on any given concern — are necessary for a to work American democracy. One useful step is to reduced the price of the citizenship test. Questioning a married pair to pay almost $1,500 to come to be American citizens is a lot come ask the those make e-bike deliveries or flipping burgers.


What’s more, citizenship will enable for miscellaneous the city board of directors cannot: the right to vote in commonwealth elections. As matters stand, congressional districts space drawn based upon the number of residents, no the number of legal votes. That method that districts such together that that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

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Alexandria Ocasio-CortezClyburn to democrats itching for leadership role: "If you want my seat, come gain it" Omar allies destruction in on calls because that Boebert penalty House to vote next week ~ above Islamophobia bill, holding grasslands in contempt more (D-N.Y.) have much fewer voters — and she receives far fewer votes — than common Republican districts v fewer immigrants. This important is taxation without representation. These new immigrants have the right to vote only if they’re citizens. 

Let’s hope the new York City Council activity faces legal an obstacle and walk not come to be law. It’s negative for those it pretends to aid and the sets a dangerous precedent for America.

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Howard Husock is a senior fellow in domestic policy researches at the American enterprise Institute (AEI), wherein he concentrates on municipal government, urban housing policy, polite society, and also philanthropy. He offered on the Brookings battle each other immigration policy Roundtable in 2008-09.