The United States Constitution was adopted on September 17, Article I, section 8, clause 4 of the Constitution expressly gives the United States Congress the power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization. The law enabled those who had resided in the country for two years and had kept their current state of residence for a year to apply for citizenship.
Introduction Voting is an iconic embodiment in American civic life. Other than standing for public office, American citizens have no stronger collective civic obligations than those that flow from their ability and responsibility to help shape community policy.
The vote is a primary vehicle for exercising those civic responsibilities. Voting is also an essential marker of full community membership in a democratic republic. It is the ultimate reflection of the mutual consent between prospective Americans and the American national community by which immigrants become full, legal, and recognized members.
In choosing to enter into the naturalization process, immigrants demonstrate an interest in becoming full members of the American national community as well as a willingness to spend the time and effort necessary to do so.
In accepting an immigrant as a full citizen at the end of that process, the community affirms that full membership. In linking the vote to full membership, the community further affirms that new members have shown the requisite attachment and commitment to be trusted with helping to make community decisions.
The Constitution, the Congress, and the courts have enshrined voting as a central, core, and indispensable element of American citizenship and democracy.
As early asthe Supreme Court had ruled in Yick Wo v. Every state in the United States legally bars non-citizens from voting in national or state elections.
The widespread assumption is that voting is the quintessential right of citizenship and that it belongs only to citizens. The answer is that in recent years a concerted effort to gain acceptance and implement the idea that the United States should allow new immigrants to vote without becoming citizens has been gathering force and adherents.
That effort has been spearheaded by an alliance that brings together liberal or progressive academics and law professors, local and state political leaders most often associated with the Democratic or other progressive parties, and community and immigration activists.
They are all working in tandem to decouple having the legal standing to vote from American citizenship. The movement has had some local success. As a result of these efforts, there are several municipalities in the United States that currently allow non-citizens to vote in local elections and legislation to allow non-citizens to vote has been introduced in a number of jurisdictions, including Washington, D.
A number of efforts in other cities and states are underway. Those in favor of allowing non-citizens to vote advance many arguments for their initiatives.
They point out that non-citizen voting was, at one time, allowed in a number early American states and territories and that it is also allowed in other Western democracies. They argue that it is only fair to allow non-citizens to vote since they shoulder many of the responsibilities of citizens, like paying taxes, but are not represented.
And, they say, such initiatives have civic value as a training ground for the responsibilities of citizenship. In this paper, we examine a number of those claims. The proposals for non-citizen voting that have been put forward vary widely with regard to four key issues: Each of these four key issues carries with it larger implications for the potential impact of non-citizen voting on the immigration process itself and more generally on American political culture.
For example, proposals to allow both legal and illegal immigrants to vote, or the failure to clearly distinguish between them in some proposals, blur the line between citizens and non-citizens and also between legal and illegal immigrants.
Also, allowing illegal immigrants to vote would considerably increase the pool of potential non-citizen voters, and that too has significant implications.Even if a prospective immigrant meets green card requirements, the wait can be everlasting, according to the Immigration Policy Center.
Why should we create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants? There are currently 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.
The general Immigration Act of levied a head tax of fifty cents on each immigrant and blocked (or excluded) the entry of idiots, lunatics, convicts, and persons likely to become a public charge. These national immigration laws created the need for new federal enforcement authorities.
After brushes with immigration reform that began in and continued in and , the United States seems to be on the threshold of overhauling the legal immigration system in . The United States needs a comprehensive immigration reform and the Americans and the immigrants also want the president to reform the US immigration laws.
Reports state that most people in America want an immigration law that would allow the undocumented immigrants to obtain US citizenship. In , millions of people participated in protests over a proposed change to U.S.
immigration policy. These large scale mobilizations are widely seen as a historic turn point in Latino politics, especially Latino immigrant civic participation and political influence, as noted in a range of scholarly publications in this field.
Catholic Social Teaching on Immigration. The Catholic Church in the United States is an immigrant Church with a long history of embracing diverse newcomers and providing assistance and pastoral care to immigrants, migrants, refugees, and people on the move.