Some are calling this a ‘publicity stunt’, but the mayor of New Haven is calling for new legislation to allow illegal immigrants in the area to be able to vote in local elections. Do you think this is fair or appropriate? Does the fact that a person pays taxes outweigh the fact that they are not actual citizens of a country?
New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, a Democrat, said on Tuesday that illegal immigrants pay taxes indirectly through rent and send their children to local schools — and therefore should be able to vote. The proposal would also lead to a more engaged community, he said.
Under the plan, immigrants who are in the U.S. legally or illegally, and may not vote now, would still be unable to vote in state or federal elections.
Elizabeth Benton, a spokeswoman for DeStefano, said the proposal is “nothing new,” nothing more than two dozen states that have seen similar legislation.
“We’re not seeking to apply this to any other city, this is about New Haven and what we think makes sense for New Haven,” Benton told FoxNews.com. “New Haven prides itself on being a diverse, welcoming community and part of what makes New Haven such a interesting place to live is our international residents.”
Benton said the proposal will be delivered to the state Legislature early next year.
“We want every adult in our community … to be able to vote in local elections that affect their families and futures,” she said. “This is not an immigration issue so much as it a New Haven resident issue around participation in our community.”
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, meanwhile, said on Wednesday he was not “particularly comfortable” with the idea.
“I think there are obligations that run with citizenship and there are privileges that run with citizenship,” Malloy said.
Malloy, also a Democrat, said he was willing to “hear the mayor out” on his proposal, which follows the lead of other cities.
Labriola, however, was not as open-minded.
“Mayor DeStefano presides over a city in decline and one that already has a dubious record of voting integrity,” he said. “The citizens of New Haven would be better served by a mayor who focused on jobs and economic development rather than a publicity stunt.”
New Haven made national headlines in 2007 when the city approved a program providing municipal identification cards for all residents — including illegal immigrants — to provide services such as banking and using the library.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.