20 Jan Can Just Anyone Vote in New York City? New Victory for Immigrants
Last week Mayor Eric Adams set in motion the possibility of more than 800,000 noncitizens and Dreamers in New York City getting access to voting. According to NBC News, their voices would be heard in municipal elections in 2023. This legislation is the first of its kind in the state and one that others might soon follow, pending on its success.
Any immigration lawyer would tell you that voting is a right that’s bestowed on visa holders once they naturalize. Only a citizen – who legally owes allegiance to the U.S. and government system – is entitled to this right. Because it distinguished the difference between noncitizens from citizens, politicians are voicing their concerns on the matter.
If the decision goes through, over 800,000 noncitizen immigrants will be allowed to vote without physical ties to the city – where there are over 8 million people. However, specific requirements must be met before this is possible.
Aside from age restrictions and standard requirements, future voters must be lawful permanent residents or live with an employment-based visa. Only then can they vote for up to 30 days. During that time, those who wish to take on the opportunity to get involved in the local elections can.
There are only 11 towns across the U.S. that currently allow noncitizens to vote in non-federal judicial, or presidential elections. They use their voices to impact the outcome of their city’s mayor, council members, public advocates, even borough presidents.
Not everyone agrees with the new mandate. New York Republicans filed a lawsuit on Monday for the Supreme Court to have another look at what this could mean for New Yorkers. The best thing for any immigrant to do on the path toward citizenship is to consult with a green card lawyer.