Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) spoke on the House floor today in support of H.Res.1071, condemning voting by non-citizens in local elections.
Full remarks are below, or watch online here.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this resolution condemning San Francisco for allowing non-citizens to vote in local elections.
Imagine for a minute that you are an immigrant to this country.
You came here the right way—followed all the rules. And after years of anticipation—after improving your English, passing your citizenship test, declaring your allegiance to the United States, and renouncing your allegiance to foreign powers—finally you are naturalized as an American citizen.
In that moment you undergo a change.
You have known many leaders in the past, but in that moment George Washington is your Founding Father.
You’ve experienced many hardships, but suddenly Valley Forge is your winter.
The Declaration is your inspiration, and the Constitution is your inheritance.
Lincoln is your liberator.
Electricity, skyscrapers, and flight are your heritage.
The GIs of D-Day are your heroes.
Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of your dreams.
The moon bears your flag.
And our future is your future.
Imagine, again, that you are this immigrant. What do you feel the first time you step into a polling place?
Actually we don’t need to imagine, because we know of so many naturalized citizens who have come here, played by the rules, and earned their citizenship.
I’ve talked to many of these Americans. They describe casting their first ballot as one of the proudest moments of their lives.
In that moment they are reminded that they have become Americans, with all the rights and responsibilities of Americans.
Unfortunately, a handful of cities in our country are short-circuiting the legal path to citizenship. In the process, they are devaluing the very concept of citizenship itself.
These cities—Chicago, Cambridge, most recently San Francisco—allow non-citizens to vote in local elections. That includes illegal immigrants who broke our laws when they entered our country.
And not only that: Non-citizen voting actually dilutes the votes and voice of law-abiding Americans, including naturalized citizens.
If you are an American citizen in one of these cities, your vote in local elections counts less now than it did before. You can thank your local politicians for that.
But that isn’t my ultimate concern with non-citizen voting. Ultimately, I am concerned about the message that this practice sends about American citizenship itself.
Ask yourself: Does the concept of citizenship mean anything? Does it grant a person special consideration in the eyes of our government? Does it impose upon him or her special duties or obligations?
Sadly, too many of our elites and even our politicians have trouble answering these questions.
But for the rest of us, American citizenship still resonates as a source of significance, purpose, and identity.
We know that citizenship has a meaning, that borders have a purpose, that sovereignty is an imperative.
Precisely because we believe these things, we have to look out for our fellow Americans while guarding our elections against all outside interference.
That is why I have introduced a resolution condemning efforts to allow non-citizens to vote in our elections.
Because American citizenship means something special. Just ask any naturalized citizen. They’ll tell you all about it.
I urge my colleagues to stand with me in protecting the right to vote for every American citizen of legal age, and rejecting all outside and foreign interference in our elections.