Letting noncitizens vote 'suffocates liberty' by making governments larger, Andrew McCarthy says

NYC on the verge of allowing non-citizens to vote locally

‘Outnumbered’ panel blasts Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for claiming the U.S. relies on undocumented immigrants to ‘survive.’

Allowing noncitizens to vote in local elections “suffocates liberty” by making governments larger and more powerful, National Review Institute senior fellow Andrew McCarthy told Fox News Digital.

The New York City council on Thursday passed a measure allowing some 800,000 noncitizen residents the right to vote in local elections. The measure now goes to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s desk.

“Progressive Democrats push for noncitizen voting because they would like to solidify a permanent Democratic partisan majority,” McCarthy, the former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said. “They reason that if they champion voting rights for aliens, then aliens will support them.

“Democrats are the party of government. If aliens are permitted to vote and do so in support of Democrats, the government will become larger, more intrusive and more redistributionist,” McCarthy added. “The bigger government becomes, the more it suffocates liberty and crowds out private investment — meaning funds would increasingly be allocated based on political favor rather than economic efficiency. That is how you kill a prosperous society.”

Andrew McCarthy, the former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks during a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in 2019.
(Anna Moneymaker/Bloomberg, File)

As McCarthy noted in a November editorial published in National Review, no New York City mayoral candidate has received 800,000 total votes since Rudy Giuliani in 1993. So, even if a fraction of those noncitizens eligible to vote did participate in local elections, that fraction could have significant electoral consequences.

Noncitizen voters would benefit Democrats if their support from U.S. citizens “continued to erode due to such issues as crime, underperforming and politicized schools and inflation,” McCarthy said. Additionally, if the populations of Democratic cities grow, states could be entitled to more representation in Congress and, therefore, more federal funding, he argued.

The legislation could also open the door for noncitizens to run for local elected positions, the former assistant U.S. attorney added.

“It is a bedrock principle of constitutional systems that legislation cannot amend a constitution — that can only be done by constitutional amendment. But, again, if a legislature is going to ignore the Constitution’s terms, all bets are off,” McCarthy explained. “So if it ignores the Constitution on voting qualifications, it might well ignore it on qualifications for office. That is why the state government should step in and clarify, whether by legislation or lawsuit, that noncitizens are not qualified to vote.”

Activists participate in a rally on the steps of City Hall ahead of a New Yok City Council vote to allow lawful permanent residents to cast votes in elections to pick the mayor, City Council members and other municipal officeholders, Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Despite the fact that the legislation could have significant electoral consequences, voting patterns in New York City may not see much material change.

“After all, the city is already a haven of progressive Democrats, so adding more people who will vote for progressive Democrats will not change much,” McCarthy said. “Nevertheless, if the voting rights of citizens are canceled out by noncitizens, many of those citizens would relocate to places where their democratic and constitutional rights were protected. That would further erode the tax base of the city at a time when a financial crisis is looming…”

McCarthy concluded that “citizenship is fundamental to membership in a national community that shares benefits and burdens; voting must be limited to citizens because voting is what determines the destiny of the national community.”

“Those principles are rudimentary to a functioning republic. It is perilous that we even have to point this out, let alone fight over it,” McCarthy added. “The fact that we do necessarily means these principles are losing their persuasive force. It is hard to conceive of how we ultimately survive as a constitutional democracy if we lose attachment to the things that make us a constitutional democracy.”

Voters sign in at Frank McCourt High School for New York’s party primaries, June 22, 2021, in New York. New York City, long a beacon for immigrants, is on the cusp of becoming the largest city in the U.S. to give noncitizens the right to vote. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Democratic city and state lawmakers cheered city council’s passage of the bill, which now goes to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s desk for signing. The mayor’s office did not respond to an inquiry from Fox News.

“In one of the most diverse cities in the world, we need to ensure that there is adequate representation for all New Yorkers. That starts by expanding the scope of who is allowed to vote in our local elections,” New York City Council member Ydanis Rodriguez, who introduced the legislation, said in a statement Thursday. ”Immigrants in New York City own over half of the local businesses and contribute over $190 billion dollars to the citywide GDP.”

Rodriguez added that more than half of the city’s “frontline essential workers are immigrants” and about one in five “are noncitizen New Yorkers.”

New York City-based noncitizens will be eligible to register to vote by December 2022 and cast ballots by January 2023.

Undocumented immigrants will not be allowed to vote, as is the case for all noncitizen voting legislation that exists in the U.S. today.

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