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Mayoral Issue Grid: Immigrants

by Gotham Gazette Staff, Aug 25, 2005
 


Mayoral Issue Grid

IMMIGRANTS

- Non-Citizen Voting?
- Drivers License Requirements?
-Amnesty
-School Translators?

There is currently a bill in the New York City Council that would give non-citizen immigrants (who have residency in the city for more than six months) the right to vote in all municipal elections. Advocates of the proposal argue that the estimated 1.3 million immigrants living in New York City, close to 20 percent of the population, deserve to be represented locally in government if they are expected to pay taxes and live with the decisions of elected officials. In New York City, non-citizen residents were allowed to vote in school board elections before the boards were disbanded.

Since January 2004, the Department of Motor Vehicles has been sending letters to thousands of drivers informing them that there is a problem with the Social Security Number in their files. Drivers who cannot provide a valid Social Security number will eventually have their drivers’ licenses suspended and lose the ability to drive legally in New York State. The crackdown has resulted in the suspension of the licenses of 7,000 immigrants, but advocates said the number of immigrants affected could reach 300,000. Immigrant rights groups say the Department of Motor Vehicles should drop proof of immigration status as a requirement for applicants.

Immigrants rights groups have proposed granting citizenship to undocumented immigrants who have been in the United States for a period of time.

The New York City Council has proposed a bill called the Education Equity Act, which would require translation and interpretation services be provided to parents of children in the New York City public schools. It would also provide translation of report cards and interpretation at parent-teacher conferences.

Fernando Ferrer

Fernando Ferrer supports giving non-citizens the right to vote in municipal elections. When asked about the bill, Ferrer responded in a written statement: “Non-citizen immigrants pay taxes, contribute to our economy, and are subject to our laws, but are not represented in our government. That is not right. Democracy thrives on allowing everyone access to their government.”

Ferrer’s position on what kind of information should be required for driver’s licenses has not been located.

Ferrer said if he had the power he would give amnesty to undocumented immigrants.

Ferrer said he would support translation services for parents of public school children.

C. Virginia Fields

C. Virginia Fields supports giving non-citizens the right to vote in municipal elections.

Fields’ position on what kind of information should be required for driver’s licenses has not been located.

Fields said if she had the power she would give amnesty to undocumented immigrants.

Fields said he would support translation services for parents of public school children.

A. Gifford Miller

Gifford Miller does not support giving non-citizens the right to vote in municipal elections.

When asked about the bill, Miller responded in a written statement: “I am opposed to non-citizen voting. I support citizenship and expanding citizenship, and have been a consistent supporter of increasing and protecting rights of immigrants by leading the council in such efforts as lobbying the mayor to revise his immigration policy and expand protections for immigrants. As mayor, I will continue to work for increasing immigration rights and protections.”

Miller’s position on what kind of information should be required for driver’s licenses has not been located.

Miller said if he had the power he would give amnesty to undocumented immigrants.

Miller said he supports translation services for parents of public school children and plans on passing the bill in the City Council.

Anthony Weiner

Anthony Weiner does not support giving non-citizens the right to vote in municipal elections.

Weiner’s position on what kind of information should be required for driver’s licenses has not been located.

At a recent forum, Weiner was asked: Would you give amnesty to undocumented immigrants? Weiner answered "No, not to all."

Weiner said he would support translation services for parents of public school children.

Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg does not support giving non-citizens the right to vote in municipal elections.

When asked about the bill, Bloomberg responded in a written statement: “Without question, our country’s current immigration system is broken and in dire need of an overhaul. However, I believe that the right to vote is at the very heart of what it means to be a citizen, and therefore I support government efforts to speed the process by which non-citizen residents can become citizens if they choose, so that they can become fully integrated in our country’s economic, social and democratic culture.”

Bloomberg’s position on what kind of information should be required for driver’s licenses has not been located.

At a recent gathering of New York's Caribbean and African leaders, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that undocumented immigrants should be able to stay in the country without having to worry about being caught and deported to their homelands.

The Bloomberg administration testified against the Education Equity Act, arguing that it would add burden and costs for the Department of Education.


RELATED ARTICLES:

- Non-Citizen Voting
- Citizenship and Voting
- Immigrants and Driver's Licenses 


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