Debate 7/31: Non-citizen?

S an Francisco has become the first city in California to allow illegal aliens to vote and in doing so raises an important question: to whom should the right to vote extend? Although San Francisco recently began taking registrations from undocumented aliens, to qualify the alien has to have a school-aged child living with them. […]

Right this way to the ballot box

Q: Should non-citizens be permitted to vote in school board elections?

By David H. Landon

San Francisco has become the first city in California to allow illegal aliens to vote and in doing so raises an important question: to whom should the right to vote extend? Although San Francisco recently began taking registrations from undocumented aliens, to qualify the alien has to have a school-aged child living with them. This City of San Francisco law, which only allows the non-citizen to vote in school board races, was passed as a result of a citizen’s initiative that passed in 2016. That initiative carried with a close vote of 54 percent to 46 percent after having failed on two previous attempts. This November will mark the first time non-citizens can register and vote in San Francisco.

The non-citizen has to live in the San Francisco Unified School District, be 18 years of age or older and have children 19 years of age or younger. A similar initiative of giving limited voting rights has also reportedly been approved in Chicago and multiple cities in Maryland and Massachusetts. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 22 million adults in the U.S. are barred from voting because they lack U.S. citizenship. In some jurisdictions non-citizens make up to 50% of voting-age residents. In Los Angeles they make up more than a third of the voting-age population; in New York City, they are 22% of adults.

Those who support the measure believe that qualifying residents will be able to now have a voice in matters concerning the schools their family members attend. According to Election Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, “These people have been marginalized, and other people who are citizens who have the legal right to vote have dominated the conversation.” The San Francisco Unified School District is home to a significant population of immigrants and minorities. These are the parents that those supporting the measure wish to empower with a voice in matters that concern the education of their children,

Asian-Americans are the largest racial group in the district, making up more than one-third of the student population. Latino students make up the next-largest, with 27 percent. While celebrating this victory, those who support the measure also fear that it could place non-citizens who register at risk.  It’s not clear whether the non-citizens’ voting registry could be hidden from the federal records, because voting records are considered public information. Supporters fear that registering to vote could expose the illegal alien to consequences of deportation by the Trump Administration.

Those who opposed this measure argue that citizenship is a fundamental requirement for having the right to vote in a democratic society. They reject the argument that this limited right to vote in school board elections only is consistent with the concepts of representative government.

Those opposed also believe that this is a foot in the door to allow an expanded right to vote for non-citizens down the road.  Following the logic for allowing this initial right to vote because of children in the local schools, how big a leap is it to argue that state funding issues affect the children and therefore allowing them to vote for the state legislature is fair and warranted.

Finally, those opposed to the measure also wonder how the information regarding the non-citizen registration can be verified. Liberal outcry of discrimination makes checking ID’s problematic during the process of registration. Those who have opposed this expansion of voting rights to non-citizens question how thoroughly these voters can be vetted.

Q: Should non-citizens be permitted to vote in school board elections?

The right to be heard must be earned

San Francisco makes its own voting rules

By Missy Mae Walters

The right to vote, I would argue, is the greatest privilege of citizenship in our democracy. It allows an individual to have a “say” in their representation, some taxation, and new laws requiring a vote. Immigrants entering the United States and going through the legal process to obtain citizenship have EARNED the right to vote. Not for one minute do I believe our country’s forefathers believed the right to vote would ever be something to be handed out like candy at a parade.

Democrats in California, in this instance in San Francisco, are doing just that. They have manipulated the voting system, turning the right to vote into a way to guarantee future votes to ensure the survival of their political party.

In 2016, “Measure N” passed with 54 percent of San Franciscans supporting it, making it legal for non-residents over the age of 18 to vote in school board elections so long as they have children in the school system.

Remember the saying: “Why buy the cow, when you can get the milk for free?” It normally is used to refer to the importance of abstaining from sex until marriage. In this instance, I think it can also be used to reference the reason why giving votes to non-citizens is so wrong.

What really is the point of becoming a citizen, when you can get all the benefits without it?

San Francisco is among one of the largest metropolitan regions with undocumented residents in the United States. In fact, the Public Policy Institute of California has estimated that nearly half a million illegal immigrants live in the Bay Area, accounting for about 8 percent of the population. It is hard to pinpoint an exact number of how many votes this could amount to specifically in San Francisco, but it’s a lot.

For the citizens who waited years legally going through the immigration process, this is a slap in the face. And for those who are currently in the process, what is the incentive to continue on the right path?

And this is just the beginning. It might be a school board election today but tomorrow, the debate will be about including state and federal elections because pundits will allege it would not be politically correct to do otherwise.

Illegal immigrants are offered every incentive to live in California–welfare benefits, subsidized or free healthcare, free education, and even scholarships to public universities.

What, you may ask, is the purpose of all this generosity? It is of course to solidify the importation of votes. It is that simple.

According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform, California is home to more than 2.6 million illegal aliens, with 3.5 million people in illegal resident households, at a cost to California taxpayers of more than $23 billion dollars annually. To put this in prospective, that is as much as North Carolina’s most recent state budget.

Sustaining the hefty burden of supporting 2.6 million illegal aliens can be likened to getting blood from a turnip. The overwhelming majority of illegals are costing more than what they are contributing. This “sanctuary state” is committing self-annihilation. And it is all thanks to the elected scum running California into the ground who will do anything to ensure their survival.

Currently, the only other two areas in the US adopting a similar measure to San Francisco include Chicago and a handful of cities in Maryland.

Being an optimist who looks for every silver lining, I do have some good news. The illegal immigrants registering to vote will be part of the public record. This means that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) gets a directory of new registrations and can cross-reference citizenship. In the past year, ICE has deported 4,300 illegals out of the Bay Area.

ICE does not seem to be a welcomed agency in California by the political elite.

The Orange County Sheriff, whose jurisdiction encompasses the area of southern Los Angeles, was ordered to stop working with ICE by the state. They could no longer call ICE and inform them of the whereabouts of the criminal. In response, the Orange County Sheriff found a loophole by posting release dates on their website. It is a matter of public information, after all.

The State of California’s actions should shock us all. If you visit your local police department, or have seen a police car on the road, you will notice the motto “to serve and protect.” By taking action in allowing criminals to walk out and continue to break the law by remaining here illegally is a contradiction of that oath.

The point here is, the political football being played by San Francisco Democrats could end up blowing up in their faces by making it easier for ICE to identify illegal immigrants for deportation.

So maybe there are some benefits of San Francisco’s parade of handing out all that sugary goodness. Those who chose to register might be met at their voting location by an ICE agent, if not sooner.

It’s only fair

No taxation without representation

By Patrick Bittner

The ability of an individual to have a say in their destiny is arguably the ultimate foundational idea of this country. The first pilgrims to this land from the old world brought with them outsider religious ideas and practices, setting the standard for a country where tolerance and self-determination reigned supreme. We are taught to believe from the earliest days of our educations that a good citizen should be involved in their community and that it is the responsibility of a good citizen to expect their government to listen to their needs and wants as it is made up of such citizens. However, the Constitution of the United States of America does not only provide these rights to citizens. That holy document provides protections and expectations to all people who set foot on this land, regardless of race, creed, religion, sex, color, age, class, or citizenship status. And yet, somewhere along the lines we lost track of the idea of universal rights, arguing instead over the cost of rights, about whether speaking a language and living in a place makes you better than someone who lives in the same place but speaks a different language. The fact of the matter is that the one true equalizer is money. And in this age of unprecedented income inequality, the way that money is earned and used is the greatest un-equalizer of them all.

This issue, plain and simple, has a lot of moving parts; not the least of which is the fact that by allowing this to happen, we are effectively allowing non-citizens the same self-determination that we are allowing citizens without any of the burdens. And while this is a slippery slope, it is important to remember that the debate here is for a very specific place, with very specific needs and features. California, while greatly universalized and thus misunderstood, is indeed, the perfect smaller representation of the entire country. While people in the Midwest tend to see the Bear Republic as the “Left Coast”, full of hippies and socialists, it is so much more. The state that indeed did give birth to the counter culture of the 1960s is also home to some of the most fervent conservatism in the country. Yet the Bay Area alone does not the GOP make, which gives this singular experiment such great weight. There are few places in this country that could pass a law like this and not have old men and fascists rioting in the streets, which is why it is such a great idea. Progress does not come overnight and everywhere, it takes small steps in brave, bold areas to bring the next great human idea forward. And San Francisco County is the center of progress in this field, right now.

The founding fathers, in all their wisdom, could never have imagined a government that spends the amount and has the taxing infrastructure that exists in modern day America. California alone has a state budget of $201 billion. And while that money goes to a multitude of things, the greatest of which is education. Education, from kindergarten to graduate school, makes up 54.5% of the state spending according to the California state budget office. But what is even more interesting than the amount of spending associated with California is the tax revenue generated by the undocumented immigrant population in that state. According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, undocumented immigrants generate over $1.5 billion for local taxes and $1.4 billion for state taxes in California alone. And of that $3 billion, the same think tank estimates that over $320 million are generated from the Bay Area alone. If translated at the same rate of spending from the state budget that is over $174 million in revenue that is directly spent on education. Perhaps the greatest argument, or non-argument in reality, against immigration is the notion that that community is a drain on the economy and uses benefits that it does not foot the bill for. That simply is not true. In fact, according to the Social Security Administration, undocumented workers contribute over $13 billion to its fund while only costing $1 billion. These folks are paying their fair share for the schools their children are attending, it is only logical then that they be granted some voice in the way those education dollars are being spent.

One important thing to note in this situation is that the new voting abilities are only extended to those individuals who have a school aged child living within the household. And as such, these individuals are only permitted to vote on school related issues. This is an important precedent because it will prevent the easy and expedited expansion of these rights. Indeed it would be pertinent for this law and any similar to it to require proof of tax payment as well as household school enrollment. One other important point to remember is the storied history of voting rights in this country and understand that provisions like this come at great cost to those who have come before. But with that being said, it is a great honor to realize that we have reached a point in society where we believe that everyone should have a voice in their destiny.

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David H. Landon is the former Chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Party Central Committee. He can be reached at

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