Wednesday, September 23, 2020

New Haven Mayor Seeks Voting Rights for Undocumented Immigrants

The mayor of New Haven, Conn., John DeStefano has pledged to pursue legal state action that would allow undocumented immigrants to vote in municipal elections.

The 10-term Democratic mayor, who along with New Haven has an immigrant-friendly reputation, believes that this proposal has the capacity to create a more engaged community.

“If you live here, you pay taxes here and send your kids to school here, you should be able to vote,” said DeStefano.

There are an estimated 11,000 undocumented immigrants in New Haven. The city’s Latino population is estimated at 35,591, according to the 2010 Census.

Mayor DeStefano has a long history of standing up for the rights of undocumented immigrants. In 2007, the city of New Haven approved a first-of-its-kind program that provided residents with city identification cards, including undocumented immigrants. With this card, residents were able to access community services such as banking and public libraries.  He has also steadfastly opposed the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Secure Communities program.

Though undocumented immigrants would still be barred from voting in state-wide or federal elections, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has already expressed discomfort with the proposal.

“It’s not an idea that I’m particularly comfortable with,” said Malloy. “I think there are obligations that run with citizenship and there are privileges that run with citizenship.”

In order for a legislative measure of this sort to take effect, the state constitution would have to be amended, according to the secretary of state. As evidence in support, the Mayor’s office cited two dozen other states where similar legislation has been proposed. Many municipalities in Maryland also allow undocumented immigrants to vote.

The mayor says he will push ahead with his proposal despite opposition.

“We’re a place of differences,” said DeStefano. “We’re a place that sees a strength and places a value on welcoming folks from all over.”

Fox News Latino