In 2016, the city of San Francisco passed a ballot measure that allowed non-US citizens with children to vote in school board elections. This week, the city began registering undocumented immigrants and other non-citizens to vote in the November election for the city school board.
The policy is a “no-brainer,” said Hillary Ronen, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. “Why would we not want our parents invested in the education of their children?”
“As a parent myself and a former member of the SF Board of Education, it is critical that the voices of all parents are at the table, particularly those that have historically been denied a voice in the process,” adds Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer.
Parents should always have a voice when it comes to the education of their children, but the right to vote has long been a right reserved for US citizens only.
The new voting policy, which expires in 2022, passed with 54% of the vote after two previous attempts failed. Similar policies have been approved in Illinois, Maryland, and Massachusetts.
In Boston, the City Council is currently considering a proposal that would allow non-citizens with legal status to vote in city elections. In Tacoma Park, MD, illegal immigrants are allowed to vote and to run for local office.
“The right to vote is something that goes along with citizenship – and should be,” argues Harmeet Dhillon, a Republican National Committeewoman who voted against the San Francisco’s measure in 2016.
Tied to this argument is the fact that a person’s voting registry in most cases cannot be concealed from the federal government. That means the new policy could be used by the federal government to track down illegal immigrants living in San Francisco.
“I think in this case in particular, what is very risky is that we don’t know where this president will go,” says Fewer. “Are there risks involved? Absolutely. But quite frankly, there are risks involved for all of us with the Trump administration.”
At the same time, the new policy is a clear slap in the fact to the Trump Administration, which has sought to crack down on illegal immigrants and sanctuary cities.
“Voting is paramount to having a choice. Seeing our families feel like they have to go into hiding, like they can’t have their concerns heard because of the attacks from the White House is something we want to stand firmly against,” argues Board of Education Vice President Stevon Cook. “This is part of an overall strategy that assures that families in our city, whether they’re citizens or not, they have a voice in the direction and future of our schools.”
Editor’s note: For some reason, San Francisco feels the need to prove it is the most liberal city in America. And they don’t mind making fools of themselves doing it.