Senate Republicans Seek to Stop Immigrants from Voting in Local Elections
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) recently unveiled legislation that would bar federal funding to states and localities that allow noncitizens to vote. The legislation is in response to a decision from the New York City Council earlier this month that allows certain permanent residents and other foreign citizens to vote in local elections.
The New York City Council voted to allow any noncitizen who has resided in New York City for at least 30 days and possesses permission to work to register to vote. While becoming the largest municipality to do so, this measure has already existed in other areas such as Montpelier, Vermont, and Takoma Park, Maryland.
Senate Republicans, including Rick Scott (R-FL), Steve Daines (R-MT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and John Kennedy (R-LA), blasted the New York City Council’s decision and argued that allowing noncitizens to vote would be detrimental to the voting rights of native-born U.S. citizens, as well as immigrants who waited years to become naturalized citizens. Senator Kennedy issued a statement that “Some Americans were born here, and some immigrated here legally, but no citizen should have his or her vote nullified by a foreign citizen’s ballot.”
Senate Parliamentarian Rejects Most Recent Immigration Reform Plan
U.S. Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough has rejected the most recent version of immigration reform measures that Democrats included in the Build Back Better Bill. Ms. MacDonough notified senators that the plan did not meet the rules for what could be included in a budget measure bypassing a Senate filibuster. This is the third rejection, with Ms. MacDonough having squashed two previous versions of the plan.
The decision is not binding, and there were immediate calls for Democrats to give up on the process and sidestep the Senate Parliamentarian. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL.) stated that they were “considering what options remain.” However, while White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the decision was deeply disappointing, she stopped short of suggesting that the Biden administration supports dismissing the decision altogether. Rather, she stated that “it’s time for Congress to stop kicking the can down the road and finally provide certainty and stability to these groups and make other badly needed forms to our outdated immigration system.” She further stated that President Biden would “keep fighting to give relief and protection to the many dreamers, Temporary Protected Status holders, farmworkers, and essential workers.”
The NM Immigration Blog has been covering this issue closely over the past several months due to the large scale of the reforms proposed and the number of people who would be affected. We will continue to cover this matter as it develops.
American Civil Liberties Union Call for COVID-19 Boosters for Detained Immigrants
Recently, the American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”) called for the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) to provide COVID-19 boosters to over 20,000 immigrants currently detained in prisons across the United States. According to the ACLU, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) “has no coordinated strategy to ensure that detained people can receive COVID-19 booster shots, despite urgent need and ample notice.” The ACLU issued a statement highlighting that “all qualifying adults in ICE custody have been eligible for a booster for well over a month. Yet detained people and advocates nationwide have reported that booster shots have not been made available, even upon request.” There are over 30,000 people who have contracted COVID-19 at ICE detention centers and nearly 300 who are currently positive for the virus.