Washington, D.C.’s Sanctuary Agenda Reaches Peak Derangement


March 16, 2023

By Brian Lonergan

Because of the polarized nature of our political landscape, there is an undeclared competition among municipal officials to make their cities the most extreme, anti-borders advocates in the land. By virtue of its recently passed law that establishes city elections with no meaningful eligibility rules for voters, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Washington, D.C. City Council have served notice that our nation’s capital takes a backseat to no one in the pro-illegal-alien woke wars.

The D.C. City Council last month passed the Local Resident Voting Rights Amendment Act, which requires only that residents live in the District for 30 days prior to becoming eligible to vote in city elections. There is no citizenship requirement, not even a lawful presence requirement. This represents a new low bar for voter eligibility. Under the act, voting rights would be extended to illegal aliens and even foreign diplomats from countries with regimes that openly despise America such as Iran and North Korea.

Under the D.C. Home Rule Act, Congress reviews all legislation passed by the city council before it can become law and retains authority over the District’s budget. As part of that review process, the GOP-led House passed a resolution to block D.C.’s voting law. Given the slim Democratic majority in the Senate and Joe Biden’s penchant for prioritizing those who violate our laws, however, Republican opposition may be insufficient to torpedo this dangerous change in the law.

At a time when Americans have become increasingly skeptical of politicians and their fealty to the Constitution, the D.C. alien voting law is sheer lunacy. Do we actually have a sovereign country anymore when rights normally reserved for citizens are given to foreign nationals, even those here illegally?

As politicians with courage and common sense are in short supply these days, citizen advocacy groups are the last line of defense. The day the voting law went into effect this week, lawyers for the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) immediately sued in D.C. superior court.  

Do we actually have a sovereign country anymore when rights normally reserved for citizens are given to foreign nationals, even those here illegally?

IRLI Executive Director and General Counsel Dale Wilcox summed up the stakes in the case. “The sovereign of this democratic nation is the people, U.S. citizens. When their power is eroded, our nation begins to lose its independence,” he said. “If laws like this are not struck down, next there will be calls in many states to allow aliens to vote in statewide and even federal elections.”

If the D.C. voting law is allowed to stand, it likely will become a model for implementation elsewhere. Experiments in noncitizen voting are already underway in progressive locales in Maryland, Northern California, and Vermont, to name a few.

The New York City Council passed a law extending the right to vote in city elections to alien residents of the Big Apple who are permitted to work in the United States, until a state court struck down the law in June of last year. Rest assured, the anti-borders activists will not accept defeat in New York or elsewhere. They will be back, and will take the D.C. voting law as cause for inspiration.

While Bowser did not sign off on her city council’s voting bill, as it was not required for passage, she is still a rising star on the one-world, no-borders road to oblivion. She has long touted her city’s sanctuary status as a sign of more enlightened government under her leadership.

When migrants from Texas and Florida started showing up in buses at Washington’s Union Station last summer, however, the mayor’s rhetoric about the superior compassion of her sanctuary policies collided with reality. After just a few busloads of migrants arrived, Bowser declared a public emergency in the city and was twice denied National Guard assistance to handle the influx.

Bowser also claimed that migrants were being “tricked” into getting on buses for Washington, despite rebuttals from Governors Greg Abbott of Texas and Doug Ducey from Arizona, that no such trickery occurred. Why would anyone here illegally feel tricked about getting a free ride in a luxury motor coach to a purported sanctuary paradise like our nation’s capital?

Regardless, the whole episode revealed the failure of sanctuary cities to live up to their high-minded talk. Bowser and other sanctuary mayors claim to welcome illegal aliens and tout how “immigrants make communities stronger,” yet those cities claim to be financially crushed by just a few busloads of new arrivals. Accordingly, one wonders what sanctuary jurisdictions will do when the illegal aliens to whom they have extended the franchise start voting themselves free housing and guaranteed minimum income on the taxpayer dime.

Whether by litigation or—gasp!—political courage, erosion of election integrity by the likes of D.C.’s alien voting law must be opposed and stopped. Otherwise, how long will it be before all of these uninvited new arrivals join forces with the alarming number of U.S. citizens who are one-world globalists and vote our national frontiers out of existence? 

Brian Lonergan is director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of illegal migration.

Also published at American Greatness, March 16, 2023.

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