Aside from the merits, the incredibly smug arrogance of Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez alone makes you want to oppose his bill to let immigrants vote in city elections. “If people have a problem with this, then they should move to another town or another country that has not been built by immigrants,” he said at a hearing Monday on the measure, which has the support of a majority of his fellow liberals on the City Council but is opposed by Mayor de Blasio.
You know your bill is a bit too “progressive” when even de Blasio won’t go for it. And there’s that little bit about it flying in the face of the state Constitution.
We’ll see how far Rodriguez gets with his bill to help make citizenship a little more meaningless. Back in 2013, it was Queens’ own Councilman Danny Dromm who was sponsoring the same kind of bill. Like Rodriguez, Dromm had the support of 33 of his colleagues. When he spoke to us in March 2013, he said he hoped to get the bill on the floor by the end of the year. But in the end it went nowhere. It was a similar story when another lawmaker introduced a comparable bill back in 2014. But they keep trying ...
Look, this city bends over backwards for its immigrants. Whether it’s IDNYC, specifically designed to give unauthorized migrants legally viable identification, or city-run healthcare, the constant mantra is “without regard to immigration status.” That’s great, but voting is not something someone should be entitled to sheerly due to their arriving in New York City.
The best argument for giving noncitizens the franchise is that keeping them from voting is taxation without representation. That sounds like a compelling case at first, until you think about it. Someone vacationing here, for example, for however long a time, doesn’t get to vote — despite paying things like sales taxes and other tax-like fees such as subway fares or bridge tolls. If an immigrant wants to enjoy the franchise, he or she can apply for citizenship. Secure that by swearing allegiance to the United States and renouncing it to any other nation, and you can vote.
Yes, it’s an arduous process. So were those by which we secured the right to vote — far more so than filling out papers and paying fees. The franchise should be reserved to citizens of our city, state and nation.