June 27, 2007

The American Identity: Should We Allow Non-Citizens To Vote?

Author_cn_2 By C.N. Le

In my first post, I would like to discuss an issue in which I have both an academic and a personal interest:  the question of who qualifies to be an "American."  The question is of particular interest to me because I am a Vietnamese refugee. I came to the U.S. at the age of five and since then have traveled down the winding road of assimilation, ethnic identity, and social segregation.

A recent article in the Christian Science Monitor caught my attention. In many locales around the country, there is a small but growing movement to extend the right to vote to non-citizen immigrants.  Of course, one of the basic benefits of being a U.S. citizen is the privilege of being able to vote in elections.  Perhaps not surprisingly, these proposals have evoked strong opinions on both sides.

Supporters argue that non-citizens are long-term residents who care about the same kinds of local issues that all citizens do: good schools, safe streets, reliable trash collection. Many pay taxes. Some are US military veterans. "They're living there, they have their kids in school, they're working, they're contributing to the local economy," says Kathleen Coll, a cultural anthropologist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. "They're full, complete local citizens [who are] affected by local policies."

Some advocates want to limit voting rights to legal immigrants who intend to become citizens but haven't completed the process. Because naturalization takes on average eight years, the Migration Policy Institute reports, parents could see their 10-year-old graduate from high school before they have a say in the public school system.

But enfranchising non-citizens would unfairly dilute the strength of citizens' votes, says one critic, Steve Cameron, director of research at the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies. For opponents, the practice is just another step in accommodating unnecessary --and sometimes unlawful -- immigrants.

The debate around the merits of immigration -- legal and illegal-- is still raging in this country.  As I've posted on several times on my personal blog, I strongly support the rights of both legal and illegal immigrants. Academic research has shown quite convincingly that legal immigrants contribute significant benefits to American society, culture, and economy.

When it comes to measuring the societal impact of illegal immigrants, the data is more of a mixed bag.  While valid empirical evidence exists on both sides, the prevailing academic consensus is that taken as a whole, the presence of illegal immigrants results in more benefits than costs for American society. However, there are two very important caveats.

First, such benefits are most evident at the national level. However, states such as California, Texas, and Arizona, as well as large cities that contain the largest numbers of illegal immigrants usually have to bear a disproportionate share of the significant costs involved with illegal immigration (costs that include.social services, medical care, and education). The second caveat is that illegal immigrants may also have a slight negative effect on the wages of low-skilled workers, as they are generally willing to work for less money than native-born Americans will.

Nonetheless, taken as a whole, the bulk of the sociological and economic research argues that illegal immigration produces more benefits to American society than costs. The overwhelmingly positive impact of legal immigrants forms the basis for my strong support for the economic, legal, and voting rights of immigrants. 

As the Christian Science Monitor article argues, the most important factor in deciding who gets to vote should be whether a person contributes to the cultural, political, and economic strength of the country, not whether a person happens to have been born inside the U.S. If someone who avoids paying taxes, has no sense of civic duty, and engages in criminal activity, but happens to be born in the U.S. has a right to vote, shouldn't a non-citizen legal immigrant who pays taxes, obeys the law, and is actively involved in his or her community have that right?

To paraphrase the great Martin Luther King, Jr., what should matter is not the country in which you were born, but your deeds and actions while living in that country.

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Comments

I would think that allowing the illegal immigrants the right to vote would change things up quite a bit especially with the things that would effect them directly. And thus, would eventually has a snow ball effect on our economy and effect each of us indiviually. Whether we see it in our school systems or in our working industry to our taxes. I don't think allowing non citizens to vote is fair towards the American Citizens I think that you should be a citizen in order to vote for American affairs.

Before reading your article, I said to myself "of course non-citizens should not have the right to vote." After reading your article, my prejudice has been dispelled, I now lie somewhere in the grey. Nevertheless, my intuition tells me that granting non-citizens the right to vote would devalue both American citizenship and the right to vote. The 5-8 year period it takes for naturalization seems a necessary control to preserve the integrity of the right to vote. While it does have drawbacks, at least it reserves voting rights for those non-citizen immigrants who exhibited the dedication to go through the naturalization process. How many would even bother to go through it, if non-citizens could vote? Admitted this viewpoint is based on speculation, with no evidence to speak of, which is why I lay in the grey.

On a separate note, you must avoid false premises when blogging or else, more technical debaters will pick you apart. I chose not to do so because you made a very compelling argument that shouldn't be shunned based on a non-related slip-up. That is more the style of a politician, not a sociologist. ;)

"If someone who avoids paying taxes, has no sense of civic duty, and engages in criminal activity, but happens to be born in the U.S. has a right to vote, shouldn't a non-citizen legal immigrant who pays taxes, obeys the law, and is actively involved in his or her community have that right?"

This is the weakest passage in the blog. Without trying to decimate it, I will provide a modest refutation. Using the DEA as my source, Vietnamese organized crime groups are dominating high-grade marijuana (including smuggling from Vancouver) and ecstasy operations (including manufacturing) on the West coast. Their influence is beginning to make an impact nationwide, especially in those cities where Vietnamese populations are strong.

So much for the image, of innocent law-abiding citizens upholding civic duties, paying taxes and obeying the law. There are criminals and scoundrels aplenty on both sides of the fence, and if an American citizen gets caught doing some serious criminal activity he will LOSE his right to vote. Therefore, including that "point" in your argument, supplies your detractors with a refutation. Be careful.

i do not think that non citizens should be allowed to vote. they should not be able to make any decisions on our future. since it will not affect them in the long run because they are not citizens of the U.S. it would not be fair to the rest of us who are citizens.

If you are not a citizen, you have no right to vote. If you are becoming a U.S. citizen you have no right to vote, until you become a citizen, then you have earned a right to vote.
If you are here in this country illegally, you are a criminal. You really don't have a right to vote.

I could relate to this blog from a personal experience and knowledge. My family and I were born in Mexico and my parents immigrated to the U.S. when I was 4 years of age. I could remember crossing the border on one of my uncle’s shoulder. My mom always looking for a job and willing to work for less that minimum wage and always trying to give me and my sister a better life. The rest of my family such as uncles and aunts and even my grandparents did the same. Some of them got into trouble for not knowing many of the laws that where different than the ones in their country. It was very harsh for everyone to adapt to a “new world.”
Ever since I could remember my family has been trying to become residents of the United States but failed in various occasions. Many times they have been scammed for a deal of money and only lured in by the hope of becoming residents of this country. I could remember the day they actually thought they were becoming legal residents but then found out their “lawyer” just cheated them out of their money and was no were to be found. Tears dripping down every single one of their cheeks, pleading to God: “why does this happen to us?” Many of them gave up after this incident and stopped hoping. They always fear the fact that a new law may be passed and they will loose their jobs and get deported. Why can’t any of them vote on their right to live a civil life? They can’t have the voting right on anything that surely affects them. This blog is very interesting for me and most of all personal.

This article got me thinking about who has the right to vote and why they have the right to vote. I think that if immigrants voted it would differently change things up. While I do not think those who are not citizens should vote I do think that it should be easier to become a U.S. citizen. If the people abide the law, pay taxes and participate in their community it should be easier to become a citizen.

Voting is very over rated. Your vote does not actually matter. The electoral college is what matters. i.e. Gore had more votes than Bush, but he still lost? The government is so corrupt that I do not know where to begin. Non-citizens and aliens are given everything by the government anyway, so why not just give them the right to vote too, its not like it means anything?

Looking at this issue from a purely citizen viewpoint, no, non-citizens should not have the right to vote in this country. Many Americans have given their lives to defend the freedoms we enjoy as a citizen. To give the non-citizen the vote would only serve to strengthen the cause of the illegal alien and the undeserving now draining our countries resources an unwarranted voice that they have not earned nor do they deserve. Actually, as an American Veteran I am appalled that anyone would even think of such a farse. I am patriotic American, a decendent of European immigrants. My ancestors weren't allowed to vote until their citizenship was granted, so it should stay that way. I also feel the English should be designated as our national language and that all bi-lingual education be stopped as well. If you want to live in America then get your citizenship, learn the language and become an American like the rest of us. Until you are a citizen you don't have the right to even speak out. We have immigration laws in effect, abide by them or go someplace else.

I have no problem with law abiding, tax paying citizens to be allowed to vote no matter where they are born. The problem I have are those who don't pay taxes but yet get free government benefits that we tax payers have to pay for.

I feel that in order to vote you must have completed all requirements to become a US citizen. The laws are put into place for a reason and all parties should adhere to them before being given the right to vote.

If we allow non-citizens to vote, what else will we allow them to do? A benefit from allowing them to vote could be that more American citizens would actually vote. If they saw that other people such as non citizens were voting then they would want to get involved also.

The author supports both illegal and legal citizens, and he questions what really makes you an American citizen.

My position on this topic is that they should be an American citizen before they have the right to vote. I don't think that its fair to those who had to wait to officially become a U.S citizen and to Americans. Its a previlage to have and you must earn it in order to use it.

The obvious solution to the problem would be to shorten the naturalization process. This would give non-citizens who deserve the right to vote the opportunity to do so in a timely fashion.

My opinion on if non-citizens should be able to vote goes both ways. While I do not think that it is appropriate for someone who is not "really" a citizen of a country to be able to vote for the future of that country, I also do not think it is right that non law-abiding CITIZENS should vote. So, if a non-citizen is law-abiding, legally works and is patriotic towards whatever country he or she is living in I see no problem with him or her having a say-so in the future of the country.

In my opinion non citizens should not have the right to vote because they are not part of our country. Yes it is true that every vote counts. If the human becomes a citzen of the US then yes I think they should be able to vote because what we American citzens pick does affect others that live in our country rather legal or illegal.

It is a challenge to become a US citizen, but I consider it a choice made by the individual. We as US citizens had no choice; born and bred in the US, we are bound by our constitution and laws decided on by our elected officials. Educating the individual in order to help them understand the laws would be a positive contribution, but doesn’t give them the right to vote unless they meet all the criteria. It is then a choice of the individual, if they truly want to become a US citizen in order to vote. Paying taxes is a totally different section. We all pay taxes which are inevitable and most of the laws that pertain to taxes are distributed equally to all individuals. Paying taxes should not have any bearing on citizenship. Taxes are based on the geographic location and if you are in the US, Japan, Russia, or Mexico; you will adhere to the tax laws of those countries. Voting in other countries is set aside in their bylaws or maybe not allowed at all. All countries have bylaws which are administered to the people equally. It is no different in the US. I do believe that hiring immigrant workers should be done legally but they need to pay their dues in order to stay in the US. Allowing non-citizens to vote would allow no-conformist to administer our culture. Non-citizens overriding a citizen’s decision, get real! They should have to earn the right of citizenship. If you give non-citizens the right to vote and citizenship freely, that freedom would open Pandora’s Box.

Since technically no one is "from" the United States anyone who works or benefits the US in any kind of way should be able to vote. America is suppose to be the land opportunity. If immigrants are welcome they should be able to do just as much as US citizens.

Non-Citizens should not be allowed to vote. As Americans we would not be allowed to go into another country and vote unless we went through the process of becoming a citizen to their country. The same should go for non-citizens in this country. If someone really wanted the right to vote they would do what is needed to become a citizen. It seems alot of people are confusing an immigrant with a non-citizen. An immigrant can be a citizen of the US if they have went through the required process. I don't think you should have to be born in the US, but yes you should be a citizen.

Non-Citizens should be allowed to vote. As law biding, tax paying individuals everyone should be afforded the oppertunity to give input on the things that affect their daily lives. Most non-citizens that are lawfully present already serve in the military and in some states vote at the local level, which I think is an great idea. If these non-citizens are lawfuly, present, paying taxes, and serving in our U.S military, why shouldnt they have a say on the things that affect them directly? I think they should be allowed to vote in school board elections, because everyone needs to have some say in the things that influence their children lives and education. In some cases I see that most people have made comments about voting being a privilege of a U.S citizen, but is it really? Being an African American I have studied and been informed of the many trials and battles African American people had to got through to get rights to vote in the U.S., while being U.S citizens, so is voting based on citizenship, or is it that we dread change, or feel that a certain group of people is inferior to the other and for that reason limit what indiviuals can do in this country. Then there are other individuals who believe non-citizens should pay taxes because, if American citizens were to go to another country then they would have to pay taxes. This is very true, but the U.S also will make you pay taxes as well. So you are living somewhere else paying taxes there, but you are also obligated to pay taxes in the United States. Is this fair? No it is not, and neither is limiting individuals rights as human beings to express how they feel about the aspects of their life and how they are being treated. As citizens, non-ctizens, voters, or whatever we all share on thing and that is human rights, something we are all entitled to.

I don't believe Non-citizens should have the right to vote. I feel that they may not care as deeply about a issue because they are not u.s citizens and the issue may not even affect them.

I do not believe that illegal immigrants should have the right to vote. While I do feel very emapathetic towards those in our country who truly want to be US citizens and do everything possible to be productive and useful in their communities, I feel as though the right to vote is a gift FOR United States citizens. All persons, aside from white males, in this country have had to fight for their right to vote and eventually won, but all of these "groups" were American citizens. If a person, or a group of people feel so strongly about having the right to vote, perhaps they should rally with LEGAL US citizens to get the naturalization laws changed, rather than changing the voting policy.

I read the article about non-citizen rights with an open mind thinking that maybe my opinion would be swayed. I still feel that non-citizens should not be allowed voter rights. Yes, many of the " non-citizens" have the same concerns for safety, education, ect. I believe until a person becomes a citizen he/she should not be given the rights so many others had to fight for.

For centuries the proud ability to vote on anything in this country has been a gift only given to its citizens and I truly believe it should still be the way things are, what is the point of becoming an American Citizen if you're an immigrant and you have the right to vote just as everyone else does? The pride American's take in their singular vote wouldn't hold the same meaning. If you wish to have your say and vote because you are living and working in the states, they why not become a citizen? My mother just became a U.S. Citizen within the last two years and was very proud to make her first vote. I do believe it only took her two years to become a citizen, so I'm not sure why it takes 8 for others, but something does need to be done about that as far as those who are wishing to be citizens and having to wait so long.

I agree.

My opinion about this is that non-citizens should be allowed to vote. this is a great discussion because it just got me to start thinking about things that normally i dont really think about. I feel that if a person is a law abiding citizen, works, pays taxes and does everything else that a actual citizen does, then why shouldnt they have that right?I think everyone citizen or non-citizen should be allowed to vote!Especially when it is something like voting, something that is going to have a significant and direct effect on the non-citizens day to day life and community.besides all of that, look at how long some of these non-citizens are having to wait in order to finally get the citizenship status here in the u.s.When a non-citizen takes on all the same day to day things that citizens do, then they should all be equally allowed to vote for any election that will effect or impact their lives.

I feel that only citizens should be allowed to vote. If voting is that important of a right to them, then they need to take the steps necessary in order to be able to vote.

I feel like you must be an US citizen to recieve the right to vote. There is a lot of leg work for non-citizens to become a Citizen of the United States, and the US gifts them with the right to vote. I do not think that non-citizen should have the right to vote.

I feel as if voting is a right reserved for legal citizens of this country. I have nothing against legal or illegal immigration, however I feel that anyone who is going to cast their vote, and have a say in what a city, county or country does - needs to be a full fledged legal American citizen, period.

If legal immigrants had the right to vote, then what motivation would they have to still become U.S. citizens they would have the best of both worlds. The system is the way it is deal with it. I wouldn't move to Canada and then complain about the fact that i can't vote there. You made the choice to come to this country so follow the rules that we have in place.

I too feel that anyone who contributes to the better good of America should be allowed to vote. I do have a problem with illegal immigrants having rights to vote, and in particular, as mentioned also, they are willing to work for less so then it takes jobs away from Americans or legal immigrants. This impacts us especially today with the way the economy is. However, even if you are a legal immigrant, as long as you contribute the same to society, you should have the same rights. This also holds true for citizens who do not contribute--they should not be allowed to vote. I would normally only say that citizens should have these rights, but as noted, it can take several years for a person to get their citizenship and that isn't fair to the individual who is taking the initiative to become a citizen--they have no control over that part of it.

I think that anyone who is living inside the U.S should have the right to vote. I don't think that it will affect anyone in the wwrong way if non-citizen vote because they are working just as hard. They wake up, go to work and try to provide the best for their families just like citizens do. I think that if they are allowed to work in the most dreadful conditions getting paid minimum wage they should have the right to vote and be heard. I agree with the author when he point out that they are just like citiens who care about the samething. I dont think think is fair to let someone vote who as once killed and rob people and not let the person who has done nothing wrong vote. This article is very close to home. I'm mexican and when I first came here at three years of age my parents had no say so because they were just residents. So it was like their voice was never heard until they became citizen. Now I'm 19 and my parents as well as my whole family were able to vote this past election. I think Everyone should be heard because every vote counts. it shouldnt matter if your a citizen or not because to me that only means you were born in the U.S. I think as long as your honest, work and do what is right you should have the right to vote.

Non- citizens should NOT be allowed to vote. My mother in law JUST became a citizen so she could vote. I love her to death and I still do not think she should have been able to vote before she got that document. It does not matter who you are, where you came from or what you do for a living. If you are not a citizen you are not an American in my eyes. It is not that difficult to obtain citizenship if you are here for honest reasons. Go get one already! Take the time and effort to learn ENGLISH and our national anthem, flag colors... etc. This is our country, if you don't like it the way it is then GO BACK to wherever you came from. Period. Wether it be Afghanistan or Canada, the plane is waiting for you to go back home if you don't like it here.

Before I read this article I thought that ONLY US Citizens should have the right to vote. After i read this article, I still think ONLY US Citizens should have the right to vote. That is was citizenship is all about. Non-Citizens have absolutely NO right to vote. This is a pretty black and white issue for me. There is no grey area.

wow. This blog opened my eyes. After reading this I would have to say that I agree with the writer. we can allow them to pay taxes, obey laws, and contribute to our communities but they can't vote. We have citizens born here that do not even do theses things though they are allowed to vote. I say let them.

I do not believe non US citizens should be allowed to vote. America is a great place to live in and people should not just be able to come from other countries and get the right to vote. It is a right as an American and it should remain that way.

I think that you gave a great argument for the right of illegal immigrants to be able to vote. I do believe that if you want to be able to vote in a country though, you should take the steps to get there. Maybe you shouldn't have to wait as long though...maybe once you start the process you should be given the right to vote. My mother is not a US citizen, she is a US resident from Canada. She has never been able to vote. She loves this country and has spent over 3/4 of her life here, but up until this past election she never felt the need to vote. I know she wished that she had had a say in the 2008 elections though.

I believe that you need to be or become a citizen to vote.

The author has an interesting point. Law abiding citizens should have the right to vote. Maybe we should take the right away from criminals and for each one we take away give it to a legal immigrant that provides for their family and wants to make a positive impact.

Any law abiding, tax paying, good person should be allowed to vote if they have been living in the US for some time.

I feel an interesting point was made in saying that, a person who avoids paying taxes and breaks the law and has no involvement in the community can vote. I believe if the illegal immigrants are paying taxes and contributing to the community they should be able to vote. The things they are voting on effect them just as much as it effects me and I am a natural born citizen. The truth is we are all immigrants unless you are a native american.Someone in your family came over here from another country and faced the same issues.As a member of society I feel that everyone who contributes should have a say in what takes place in our country.If your kids go to a public school then you should vote on public school issues beacause they effect you.A vote is just a matter of opinion and as far as I am concerned everyone has one.

Noncitizens are like any other people who abide by the law pay their taxes, and children go to school with others. When an American lives with their love on for a month or more they become a tenant of the house. When a girl friend and boyfriend live with each other for more than a year they are commonly known to be married. When is it ever right for anyone not to have a say so about who is dictating there life. Yes a noncitizen should be able to vote when they follow the lay of the land.

After reading this blog more than once, one thing stuck out more than anything else. The author opens with terms such as Non-citizen while describing the immigrant population nationally and illegal-immigrant when describing the local issues in California. The process for becoming a U.S. citizen is long and hard for a reason. To maintain a stable republic is our primary focus. The ability to account for resources such as; heath care, education, and local growth, allows leaders to make realistic and beneficial social plans.

The stages of the immigration process come with benefits and responsibilities at each level. Illegal-immigrants have no rights under our system, other than basic human needs must be met. The process of immigration is not only for the benefit of the individual but their children and children's children will be recognized, without question, as U.S. citizens. Bringing their values and traditions, harmless to the greater society in small amounts, but potentially harmful if disruptive to the local and national values and traditions. Being the melting-pot of the world comes at a cost, the need to maintain balance in an unstable world.

After reading this blog I diffently agree with sgortney. I do not think Non-citizen should have the right to vote. They should go through the process of becoming a U.S. citizen it is in place for a reason.

I don't think non-citizens should have the right to vote. I believe once you are a citizen then you have the right. We, Americans have earned the right to voice our opinions when we go to vote. As an example, say that American wanted to vote for a Canadian Prime Minister what reasoning would there be for it when the American is not a Canadian citizen. Why should his voice count when he is not a citizen?

Personally, I believe the government is handing out enough these days! I am the first generation of American Born citizen in my family. I feel citizenship and the right to vote should not be given to anyone but attained through the proper channels! My family members were passionate about the political issues, so they applied for citizenship and tested.

I think that non-citizens should not be able to vote if they are not a citizen of the United States because they would not be fair. The reason saying is that citizens of the United States could not go to another country and vote without being a citizen of their country.

I feel that if the non citizen is a illegal immigrant they should not vote because they need to go through the course which will make them a legal immigrant. They need to know the issues of America.

"A riot is at bottom the language of the unheard."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

I feel that as a citizen only i have the right to vote. Not to over kill but my people as a whole had to fight for the right to vote. If you would like to do so.... i would ask that u become one of us. Now as a citizen or non citizen i feel that we can have a system in place so that we may work on any and every problem. if the question is to vote or not to vote ...non citizen i vote no

I do not believe the non-citizens have the right to vote. I think that if someone comes into the United States and wants to vote they should become legal before they get the opportunity to do that. I feel that some non-citizens come to the US because some of them don't have to work or pay taxes. I think if they became a citizen they should be able to vote. I respect the ones who are working and paying taxes for the United States, but its very unfair when they aren't working and don't have to pay taxes. So as long as they become citizens I believe they should have the right to vote.

I do not think that non-citizen should be able to vote. There is a timely process that non citizen have to take in order to become a U.S. citizen, should they complete this process that shows me that they want to be an american and then the should be given the right to vote.

Allowing non-citizens to vote is more benefit than cost althought it would add some costs for larger states. The writer also believe that non-citizens' voting may de-strengthen the cicitzens vote, but just like us, most want a better life and should be allowed to vote. I agree with the writer that they should be allowed to vote because they should have a say on their life and living situation.

I believe if a person is contributing in everyway in that particular society. He or she should have the same rights as everyone eles. That includes paying taxes. Whether they're born in this country or not. Only if they are here legally. If they just sneak over the boarder than I don't think they should have the same rights.

I believe that non Citizens shouldn't be able to vote only because their not a US citizen, but if they where to become a US citizen then therefore i do believe they have a right to vote.
I don't agree with letting vote, only because whatever the outcome may be it want affect them in the end.

In my opinion the cost of allowing non citizens to vote outweighs the benefit in some ways. It breaks down the laws of society. The right to vote is a right and to some extent should be earned. A person from another country who has been living in a country for their whole life should be a full citizen. On the other hand someone whos been living there for only 10 years and did earn thier right has a slight advantage in my opinion. I do agree with certain advocates limiting voting rights to legal immigrants who want to become citizens but haven't completed the process. Because eight years is a bit tedious.

Illegal immigrants come into the United States every day. Giving some the right to vote over other would cause much controversy, yet for those who are actively going through the citizenship process and are involved in their community, i believe should have the right to vote. Many people would be upset if they gained the right, simply because it feels as if our "special pivledge" is being given to anyone. Most americans are selfish when it comes to this. We are a free country and yet we still treat people from other places like criminals or someone coming to take away what we have. If it wasnt for immigrants, this country wouldnt be the same. It would be a dead country that has no technological advancements. So why blame imigrants that help us? I believe ones that have put forth the effort to become a citizen and help in their community chouls have the right to vote.

Allowing non citzens to vote, could change whoever becomes president. They would have alot of power in the matter. When it comes to becoming a United States citizen, my best friend went through the steps and became one. Yes, it takes time and hard work, but it is worth it. She got to vote for her first time last election. She was proud of the fact that she became a United States citizen and got to vote. If I moved to another country I would not expect to have the right to vote in that country. I understand that non citizens pay taxes and work for lower wages (which is a not right). Voting is a freedom that citzens have. I am sorry, but I don't think non citizens should vote. I understand that they are affected by who becomes President. If non citizens got to vote, citzens would be no different from non citzens when it comes to electing someone. It is our freedom as citizens to vote.

I strongly agree with the Christian Science Monitor. I think that it depends on how much they are contributing to the country. If they are committing criminal acts, costing the country more, and has no sense of civic duty they should not be allowed to vote. But if they are contributing more to the country than its own citizens, they should be allowed to have a say in how everything is going.

in my personal opinion illgal immagrants should not be allowed to vote, im not saying they should be denied the same basic human rights that all other americanized or american born citizens have, but if they care enough about local statewide and national politics to go through the tedious ordeal of voting, then why wouldnt they complete the neccesary proccess of becoming an actual citizen?

There are benefits and costs when it comes to allowing non-citizens to vote. The author argues that the benefits of non-citizens voting overwhelmingly outweigh the costs. He states that since they are contributing to the cultural, political, and economic strength of the country, they should be able to contribute to the voting process and electing who runs our country. I think it is a privilege to have the right to vote and I think that if immigrants want the right, they should have to earn it. They should go through the required process to become a citizen, and only then should they earn that privilege.

I went into this article with and open mind and i got alot of insight. My step dad is a legal immigrant and it has never even came across my mind that he doesn't have the right to vote. He pays taxes, obeys the laws and is concerned about our society but doesn't get to vocie his opinions. Most people don't realize the process it takes to become and US citizen, He has been working on it for over a year now, and in the meantime, I believe he should be able to be as active as he would like to be in this country. Now, on the other hand, the illegal immigrants don't pay taxes and well frankly i am sure they could care less. they are trying to avoid deportation

Having the right to vote is much more than a right, its a privilege. If americans allowed this to happen then the incentive for immigrants to apply for citizenship would disappear. The identity of America would slowly deteriorate, cause there would be no reason for people to know the history of this country.

It can boost our groups in society by adding more people and it can allow the polls to be fair. Because an immigrant is unbiased to older issues and running parties they can educate themselves on this and give a true vote from an unbiased standpoint.By not allowing a non citizen to vote they would be living in this country dealing with gun violence, abortion, healthcare and equal rights but not have a say in any of it.
The author is definitely coming from an immigrant standpoint but I wonder has he took the time to envision what it would be like on the other side of the issue. Maybe there are more benefits than costs but the author has yet to mention them.
I think non citizens should have the right to vote.

In my opinion legal immigrants should have the right to vote since they are tax paying citizens,and they should have a voice in the way their tax dollars are being spent.However if you are illegally in the country then i believe you shouldn't have the right to vote. Because if you are here illegally here than you are breaking the law.I believe the U.S. is the land of the free and home of the braves as long as you follow the proper guidelines to become a citizen.

I think that while illegal immigrants do contribute a great deal to our country, our current system should not entirely be changed. If we give people who are not even citizens of this nation the right to vote then that makes the whole naturalization process meaningless. I do think that immigrants to this country should only have to wait four years to become citizens instead of eight. Too many future citizens have a silent voice for many years on critical issues because of that law. So I believe that the limit on years before living in the U.S. before becoming a citizen should be greatly be reduced.

Honestly I believe that non-citizens should not be able to vote, I feel that they shuldn't be able to vote until they become U.S citizens.

Honestly I believe that non-citizens should not be able to vote until they officially become a U.S citizen.

i believe that hard working non-citizens should have the right after a probationary period.

i believe that hard working non-citizens should have the right after a probationary period.

sorry forgot to put my last name

im here

I feel that if you are a citizen then u have the right the vote if u are a non citizen and u are contributing to the economomy, paying taxes, and obeying the law just like good us citizens u should have that right to vote to.

I believe allowing non-citizens to vote could affect the economy tremendously. If a person pays taxes, goes to school or other things they should have a say in what happens. I mean, do I agree in allowing illegals here, not really but i also know first hand how hard it is to get legal in this country. If people actually listened to what non-citizens have to say, it might actually help.

The right to vote in the United States of America is strictly only the right for citizens of this great country. If someone who isn't a citizen feel they deserve this right, then they should become a citizen. There are processes to do this and they should follow those steps.

I think that illegal immigrants should not have the right to vote. While many immigrate to the United States for a better life, and that is not so much a problem, but for immigrants to come here and we have to pay expenses, and taxes to the government to help them, many if not most do not become legal here. There are ways to become a legal citizen and I feel is should be legal citizens to have a vote in what happens in our country.

If your not a citizen you should not be allowed to vote. Why should they be able to vote when they are not a citizen. If they want to vote they need to became a citizen so that they can vote.

Although I feel that only citizens should vote, I also feel that the process that makes becoming a citizen possible, is a very lengthy process. I feel that non-citizens who are in the process of becoming citizens should have the power to vote. Even if it takes them years to become citizens, if they are working here and earning their way, they should be allowed the same say in what goes on in their surroundings, just like normal citizens.

I do not beleive that non-citizens should be allowed to vote. We as americans take pride in this country and rights that we are granted. If we allow non-citizens to have our rights "just because" that seems to take some pride away.

Giving illegal immigrants the right to vote is something that the founding fathers of the nation would not approve of. Voting in this country should be meant for the true U.S. citizens. If immigrants want the right to vote they should do the necessary steps in order to gain citezenship. You dont see me going to Mexico on vacation and while im there casting my vote for their next president. I dont expect to get to vote in any other country because I am not a citizen of that country.


I strongly support the right of both and legal and illegal immigrants. I feel like the imigrants have the right to vote just as well as citizens. They need to follow the right way of doing.

I think illegal people should not have the right to vote, or non-citizens. I do think that people that have been to prison should get a chance. voting plays a major role in our lives so it should be taken very serious.

I understand where the author is coming from saying the legal immigrants contribute by paying taxes and obeying the law etc. more than some of the US citizens. Although I understand I am in agreeance with the arguement saying no, they should not. I think we should take care of home first. Lets fix our problems, then worry about legal immigrants.

I feel that non citizens should not be allowed to vote because they are not a part of us as a nation. We all vote as citizens; they are not a part of us unless they take those steps. How bad do they want to be a citizen? Hmmm...

Non-citizens who are legal immigrants should be allowed to vote as long as they are planning on becoming citizens. Voting is a very important part of the democratic process in our country. It allows law abiding people of this country to have a say in politics. As long as a non citizen has started the process to become an American Citizen, they should be allowed to vote. By showing their devotion to become a citizen, the non-cit would demonstrate their understanding of the democratic process and the importance of elections. They would also be showing a commitment to be a long term resident, and not just be doing a "drive by vote", where they reap short term benifits of a voting outcome but leave law abiding citizens of America with a mess to clean up years down the road.

I think that we should not allow non- citizens the right to vote. I think you must legally be aprt of whatever country you live in to have a say so. He would give a new and broader perspective on things but i still think you must at least be a citizen to vote. As an individual i do not want someone making putting in a vote for something when they might not know everything about it because they do not "legally" live for, which usually means they have not been here for a long period of time.

In my opinion non-citizens should be allowed to vote as long as they are following the same rules and paying the same taxes. If they break the law don't they get punished the same? Upon being allowed to vote, they should have a certain amount of time to legally become citizens and if they don't fulfill that requirement then they should be restricted to vote.

In my opinion, non American citizens should not have the right to vote because they are not citizens. Convicted felons lose their right to vote, why should it be fair for non citizens to vote when citizens have the ability to lose the right? Once a non citizen maintains citizenship then they should be able to gain the right, but like citizens have the right to lose the ability.

As long as non-citizens are paying the same taxes and following the same rules as citizens, they should be allowed vote. If they break a law, don't they get punished the same? After being allowed to vote for the first time, they should then be reqired to become a citizen. If they do not fulfill that requirement then they should be restricted.

Non-citizens should be allowed to vote the same way that they are allowed to do anything else. As long as they abide by the laws they should have that choice. At least they take pride in doing so because there are many citizens who already have the right and could care less.

no i feel you should be a legal citizen to earn the right to vote in a free country

I do not believe that as an individual nor as an American in society, we should be able to tell another individual that they can't vote. It's not our place to judge anyone because of their ethnicity. I mean, my gosh, we cant even keep our own mess straight as American citizens then we go so far as to say hey, you haven't been in our country for that long, so you dont know the history behind our freedom so we ALL agree that you cant vote. Well i dont. It's not our world. It's God's. On top of that, our votes really dont count either the way our votes are being "thrown away, swept under the rug or just not counted." Their are more things to worry about in life than voting. Whatever He unveals will be revealed. This information, basically an opinion is biased and discriminatory.

Ive reread this a second time and came to this conclusion: the last paragragh talks about American citizens engaging in criminal activity and having the right to vote. When did that law pass? Felons are not allowed to vote, so they are basically outlaws too. And plus, maybe money isnt an issue in another country. Of course in the US it is a big deal because everyone is trying to be better the next person. This is why immigrants work for less money i believe. Another positive factor is these people like to work aside of the normal citizens. How many days on average a year Do immigrants call in to work or complain about their job? How may days on average a year do citizens call in to work or complain about their job? Im guilty. Martin Luther King couldnt have said it better.

I also think that only citizens should be allowed to vote, but I also think that it shouldn't take so long for an immigrant to become a citizen. Maybe, if the the maximum time for the naturalization process is 5 years, that would only be a short time period for the immigrant to become a citizen and be able to vote.

I believe that weather you choose to be for are against letting non-citizen votes the outcome will in most likely result in favor for advancement of the states. If we consider why individual become immigrant is for the betterment of self and their surroundings.

Overall, I don't think immigrants should have the right to vote, but I also agree that if they pay taxes and support their community they should have the opportunity. I don't think just because an immigrant may say that their intentions is to become an U.S. citizen should be considered a citizen.

My oppinion is that only US citizens should have the right to vote. Although non-citizens may understand the politics of our nation, they are not part of our nation. I believe that if you are not of this nation you should not have the opportunity to vote in the communities.

I found this article to be very intresting. Iam an American citizen and Iam able to vote. However upon reading what was said by Mr. Lee I believe that if there are pepole out there that are living here and raising ther families here then maybe that they should be allowed to vote.

I do not feel that non citizens should be allowed to vote on any thing in regards to our country, for the simple fact are we allowed to go over to there country and vote as to what would effect them and there familys no so for this i say not they should not be.

I feel that everyone should be able to vote regardless of where they are from and long as they are abiding by the laws,paying their taxes, and does everything a righteous citizen does they should have all rights.

I feel that unless you are willing to go through the entire naturalization process, no matter how long it takes, you should not be allowed to vote. Too many people before us have laid their lives on the line for the rights we have as citizens. Also, I feel that even if you are a citizen and do not pay taxes you should not have the right to vote. People who aren't taxpayers do not have anything invested and are voting purely on what they feel the government can do for them. We should all vote based on what we think is best for the future of America. Some illegal immigrants don't care one way or another. They're here to take advantage of the good things in America for a short time before returning to their native country. That's just wrong

I do not think that you should be able to vote if you are not a citizen. Although we may feel the same about a lot of issues that may be for the greater of the U.S., You should be a complete citizen of the states to be able to voice that opinion.

One of the things that the author argues about is deciding wether a person who gets to vote should be one who contributes to the cultral,political and economic strenght of the country, not whether a person happens to have been born inside the U.S.
I personally think that anyone should be able to vote no matter where they are from.People should be entitle to vote no matter as long as they are paying their taxes, abiding by the laws, and being a good citizen.We are still equal as people in this world.

I feel that if a person (legal or illegal) has : 1. been in this country for an lengthy amount of time such as 4-8 yrs. and is 2. awaiting citizenship (having applied), has not committed any felonies/misdemenors,3. has contributed in taxes and in societies related to the well being of our country, with strict proof of such contribution----that person should be allowed to vote. This by no means is stated with intentions of taking away from the natural born U.S. citizens that do exercise their rights to vote. I feel that as long as they have made reasonable attempt to function as a U.S. citizen and are "clean status" they should be able to voice their opinions.

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