Boston Officials to “Explore” Giving Foreign Citizens Voting Rights
Jennifer G. Hickey
The Revolutionary patriots might be rolling over in their graves today as the Boston City Council meets to “explore” the proposition of extending to non-U.S. citizens the privilege and right to vote.“All members of a community should have the right to participate and be included in the governance of that community,” said Council President Andrea Campbell in the order she filed with the council before Tuesday’s hearing.Campbell’s order would give voting privileges to green card holders, legal permanent residents and to other visa holders and those benefitting from Temporary Protected and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status. While illegal aliens are not presently on the table, giving lawbreakers the right to vote was part of Campbell’s plan earlier this year.“I want to have conversations about how noncitizens can fully participate and come out of the shadows to do so. These residents generate millions in taxes coming from folks who are identified as undocumented, DACA, legal permanent residents as well as having green cards. We should be open-minded and keep it open as to how they could participate,” she said.Even for liberal Boston, that was too far for some of her colleagues.“Voting is a U.S. citizen’s privilege, it’s the ultimate privilege. And I for one will continue to fight that it remains that way. … Voting for noncitizens is a step too far,” said Hyde Park City Councilor Tim McCarthy at the time, according to the Boston Herald.Any change in law would have to be approved by the full council and then by the mayor, the Legislature and the governor.In addition, the order states it is the “responsibility” of “local governments” to “explore inclusive practices including providing documents in multiple languages and interpretation services at meetings and events” sponsored by the City. There is no price tag yet on costs associated with providing transcription and translation for the hundreds and thousands of annual events in Boston.Speaking of language, none has been released yet, so it remains unclear exactly who will be included under Campbell’s “welcoming” umbrella.
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