State’s City Council Considers Allowing Noncitizens To Participate In Local Elections

( – Boston, Massachusetts, one of several Democrat-run cities that have declared themselves “sanctuary” cities for immigrants flooding over the border, is now considering allowing those immigrants to vote if they are documented.

Last Tuesday, the Boston city council debated a home rule petition introduced by Councilor Kendra Lara. The hearing was attended by the councilors, city election officials, and immigration advocates, all of whom debated the resolution to grant border crossers “legal status” to participate in local elections. A majority of the city councilors appeared to support the resolution.

Lara argued in defense of the resolution by stating that immigrants who don’t have “a voice in their local government through the ballot” are working hard, making sacrifices, and investing “in their neighborhoods.” According to Lara, “all people should have a say” in local government decisions because these decisions “impact their daily lives.”

According to local reports, a city clerk from Takoma Park, Maryland, attended the meeting and shared details about a similar change in policy already put into place in her jurisdiction 30 years ago. Takoma Park implemented the policy in 1992, allowing immigrants to vote in local elections “regardless of their legal status.” Of course, Takoma Park is a small town of only 17,000 residents, while Boston has over 650,000 residents, so how such a policy would impact the city in comparison is unclear.

The Maryland clerk also clarified to the Boston City Council that immigrants aren’t questioned about their legal status upon registering to vote. Instead, they are simply asked to provide proof of city residency and of their identity. The clerk claims that because there are so few such voters in Takoma Park, their information is kept on an Excel spreadsheet, perhaps another indication that scaling this to a big city could prove challenging, as pointed out by Eneida Tavares, the Boston Elections Commissioner.

The New England state is not used to handling such an influx of immigration. A few months ago, Democratic Governor of Massachusetts Maura Healey officially declared a state of emergency, activating the Massachusetts National Guard to assist with managing the crisis. Boston also received a massive grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) over the summer. The $1.9 million grant is to help cover the cost of transportation and shelter for immigrants.

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