Leading House Democrat: 'I fully support' NYC allowing noncitizens to vote

What do New Yorkers think about letting non-citizens vote in local elections?

Democratic Rep.  Hakeem Jeffries, who represents a district that covers parts of eastern Brooklyn and southwestern Queens in Congress, expressed support Tuesday for a bill passed by the New York City Council allowing hundreds of thousands of noncitizens to vote in local elections.

“The legislation that passed the city council would permit legal permanent residents to be able to vote in municipal elections,” Jeffries, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, told reporters. “And the law permits a city to make that determination. We, of course, exist in a system of federalism. New York City has made that determination. It’s a determination that I fully support.”

House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., speaks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Nov. 2, 2021. (REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein)

The measure, which would affect green card holders and those with work authorizations and was approved by the city council last week, doesn’t include state or federal elections, and people in the country illegally would not be allowed to vote, according to FOX 5 in New York City. 

The city would be the largest to allow noncitizens to vote, extending the privilege to roughly 800,000 people.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio at a mass vaccination site at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx on Feb. 5, 2021.
(REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

In an interview with “Fox News Sunday,” de Blasio, who has the power to veto the bill, admitted that he is not 100% behind the concept of allowing noncitizens to vote but respects the decision made by the council.

“I have mixed feelings. I’ve been very open about this law, and I think there are big legal questions, but I also respect the City Council. They made a decision,” de Blasio said. 

New Yorkers who spoke with Fox News also had mixed feelings on the bill. 

New York, New York

“I think it’s a good idea,” one New Yorker told Fox News. “If they’re living here, but they’re on a working visa, I mean, I guess they should have a say as to what’s going on in the city, right?”

Another lifelong New Yorker opposed the measure, saying, “I do not agree with it. Why should they? They’re not from here.”

Fox News’ Brie Stimson, Terry Sahakian, and Tyler Olson contributed to this report

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