Illegal aliens now are allowed to vote in local elections held in the nation’s capital.
Under a new law, anyone who qualifies as a permanent resident of the District of Columbia can cast a vote in races for mayor, D.C. Council, attorney general, and neighborhood advisory boards, regardless of U.S. citizenship status.
Now, the Immigration Reform Law Institute has filed a lawsuit against the D.C. Board of Elections to halt noncitizen voting.
“What this law does is it allows anybody who has been resident in the District of Columbia for 30 days or more the right to vote in D.C. municipal elections,” Matt O’Brien, a former immigration judge who now is director of investigations for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, told The Daily Signal.
On Wednesday, the Immigration Reform Law Institute formally served D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, and the D.C. Board of Elections with the lawsuit.
In the lawsuit, the D.C.-based immigration institute represents Stacia Hall, a Republican who ran for D.C. mayor in 2022, and six other D.C. voters who are U.S. citizens.
The law, formally known as the Local Resident Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2022, took effect earlier this year after the D.C. Council passed it in 2022. The new law gives the right to vote in local elections to aliens who may have crossed the border illegally and now live in the city. It also grants the right to vote to representatives of a foreign government, such as diplomats and other embassy staff, O’Brien noted.
“It’s absolutely insane to put the district in a position where all of the foreign diplomats and the foreign intelligence agents … are now in a position where they can start voting on things that the District of Columbia does—which in some cases may just be typical things like school board regulations and parking regulations, but in a lot of cases are things that have a much broader impact on the overall safety and security situation within the city,” O’Brien said.
Because the House and Senate exercise oversight over the District of Columbia, House Republicans tried to block the law from taking effect. Although the Republican-controlled House voted to strike down the new local law, the Democrat-controlled Senate failed to take up the measure within the allotted 30-day window, and so the D.C. law went into effect last month.
D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, a Democrat, did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment.
The new law, which the Immigration Reform Law Institute calls the D.C. Noncitizen Voting Act, violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause, O’Brien said.
“One vote, one person,” O’Brien said, “And if you now, all of a sudden, [are] bringing in people from foreign countries who are not citizens, who are able to vote, you are engaging in vote dilution.”
Before joining the immigration institute, O’Brien was a judge on the U.S. Immigration Court in Arlington, Virginia.
O’Brien argues that if a “foreign national, who does not have the same connections or even the same legal status under the law in the United States, is now casting a vote … what that does is, it tends to negate the votes of American voters.”
Asked for comment on the court case by The Daily Signal, the D.C. Board of Elections responded: “We do not comment on litigation.”
The new law also could lead to voter fraud, O’Brien argued, since “anybody who is ill intentioned [could bring] not just one bus but multiple busloads” of illegal aliens to Washington, D.C., for the purpose of voting in an election.
Instead of giving noncitizens a right to vote, O’Brian suggested, the city government should tell noncitizens living in the nation’s capital to voice their opinions and desires to local leaders.
Christopher Hajec, director of litigation for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, will argue the case in D.C. Superior Court. A hearing date has yet to be scheduled.
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