Voters to Decide Immigration Ballot Questions in November
FAIR Take | October 2022
Voters in several states will have a chance on November 8 to vote on immigration-related questions appearing on their ballots. Most prominent among these are drivers’ licenses for illegal aliens in Massachusetts, in-state tuition for illegal aliens in Arizona, and citizen-only voting in Ohio.
The Massachusetts legislature enacted driver’s licenses for illegal aliens on June 9, when two-thirds of both chambers voted to override Governor Charlie Baker (R)’s May 27 veto of the so-called “Work and Family Mobility Act,” House Bill (H.) 4805. This legislation authorizes the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) to issue drivers’ licenses to illegal aliens and is scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2023. However, voters have the opportunity to reject the law in November and, if they do, it would be repealed before it takes effect.
Between June 28 and August 24, a committee organized by Angel Mom Maureen Maloney, whose son was killed by an illegal-alien drunk driver in 2011, gathered 84,144 signed petitions to put the question to repeal H. 4805 on the ballot. This was more than double the number required. On September 7, the Massachusetts Secretary of State certified 71,883 of the signatures and approved the question for the November ballot.
Repealing driver’s licenses for illegal aliens will appear on the ballot as Question 4. A “yes” vote upholds H. 4805 and grant driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. A “no” vote repeals the new law before it takes effect, keeping the current ban on driver’s licenses for illegal aliens.
Providing driver’s licenses for illegal aliens treats them as if they are lawfully in the United States and facilitates illegal conduct. Proponents of giving driver’s licenses to illegal aliens argue that they are needed to allow the illegal aliens to get to their place of employment. However, it is against federal law for an illegal alien to work in the United States.
Moreover, providing a driver’s license to those who have entered the United States illegally is a public safety and national security risk. If individuals enter the country between ports of entry, they have not been vetted and authorities do not know their identities or their true intentions. According to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for FY 2022 (Oct – Aug), 78 individuals on the terrorist watch list were encountered on the southern border between ports of entry. In addition, in the Fiscal Year 2022, through August, CBP arrested 24,989 individuals attempting to cross the border with criminal convictions. Among those arrested were 697 criminal aliens with gang affiliations, including 288 MS-13 members.
Polls on the issue have been divided.
In 2006, Arizona voters approved Proposition (Prop.) 300, specifically banning illegal aliens from receiving the in-state college tuition rate, public educational financial aid, or state-subsidized childcare assistance. Seventy-one percent voted in favor of the ban while twenty-nine percent opposed it.
In 2021, recognizing the climate was not conducive to passing an in-state tuition bill through the legislature and having it signed by Governor Doug Ducey (R), a coalition of open-borders Democrat and pro-big business Republican legislators instead introduced and passed a resolution to put the question before the voters on the 2022 ballot. These types of resolutions in Arizona are ideal for these type of situations since the bill was not subject to gubernatorial veto.
The question will appear on the ballot as Proposition (Prop.) 308. A “yes” vote would approve the proposition and grant the in-state tuition rate to illegal aliens, repealing that part of Prop. 300. A “no” vote leaves the status quo in place under which illegal aliens must pay the out-of-state rate.
According to Lending Tree, average in-state tuition at 4-year public colleges and universities in Arizona is $11,220 a year while out-of-state tuition is $29,750 a year, a difference of $18,530 or slightly over 165 percent.
The Ohio Constitution states that “[e]very citizen of the United States, of the age of eighteen years … is entitled to vote at all elections.” On May 25, the Ohio House of Representatives voted by more than the required three-fifths supermajority to put a state constitutional amendment on the November ballot that if approved by a majority of the voters would change the constitution to allow “only a citizen” to vote, and on June 1 the Ohio Senate followed unanimously.
This amendment language mirrors the state constitutions in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida and North Dakota. However, the Ohio amendment would also go beyond those state constitutions by specifically prohibiting local governments from creating voting rights for anyone else, regardless of any other constitutional provisions for home rule.
The question will appear on the ballot as Issue 2. A “yes” vote approves the amendment and bans alien voting in any election in the state while a “no” vote rejects the amendment in favor of the status quo. The issue with the status quo is that it arguably allows local governments in Ohio to grant foreign nationals the right to vote in local elections.
If other states are any indication, Issue 2 will likely be approved by a sizeable majority of Ohio voters in November. Voters in Alabama passed a similar amendment in 2020 by 77 percent. Likewise in Colorado it passed 63 percent to 37 percent while in Florida it passed 79 percent to 21 percent.