In Wake Of Trump, DC Councilmembers Want To Give Non-Citizens The Right To Vote

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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District of Columbia council members introduced a new bill Tuesday to allow non-citizens the right to vote in local elections as a direct affront to the new Trump administration.

“This bill allows permanent residents in the District of Columbia, who are not yet U.S. citizens, the right to vote in our local municipal elections,” Council member Grosso said in a statement. “These residents are well on their path to citizenship.”

The idea behind the legislation is to amend the District of Columbia Election of 1955 to redefine “qualified elector” to include permanent residents. If the bill is successful, non-citizens would be allowed to vote in candidates for mayor, city council and the attorney general, among other positions.

For Grosso, the point of the legislation is to send a strong message both to Congress and the Trump administration about where D.C. stands on issues of immigration and representation.

“I recognize that this is a very political and polarizing issue further agitated by the incoming Presidential Administration and current Congressional make-up,” Grosso said. “I strongly believe that the result of the national election reverberated in our city perhaps more than anywhere else in the nation.”

“For most of American history, noncitizens were permitted to vote in 22 states and federal territories. It was not until the 1920s that, amidst anti-immigrant hysteria, lawmakers began to bar non-citizens from voting in local and statewide elections,” Grosso added. “Unfortunately, this hysteria continues across the United States, but it does not need to be perpetuated in the District of Columbia.”

Grosso has tried unsuccessfully for years to pass the legislation, introducing similar amendments in 2015 and 2013.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser also reiterated Wednesday evening that the city will remain a sanctuary city for illegals, despite the fact that Trump signed an executive order directing the Department of Homeland Security to look at ways to withhold federal funds from cities if they continue to break the law.

“I will not let the residents of D.C. live in fear,” Bowser said. “The District is and will continue to be a sanctuary city.”

The city is home to 75,000 immigrants, 25,000 of whom are in the country illegally.

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