The Ways the Left Exploits Illegal Immigration for Electoral Gain: The BorderLine

The Ways the Left Exploits Illegal Immigration for Electoral Gain: The BorderLine

Why does the Biden administration want open borders so badly? For three very big reasons. One is ideology, which I covered in last week’s BorderLine column. Another is extortion, which I will cover in next week’s column. But this week, I look at how the Left uses illegal immigration to give itself an unfair electoral advantage.  

First, illegal immigration affects congressional representation because the apportionment of members of Congress by state is based on U.S. census data. As Heritage Foundation Border Security and Immigration Center Director Lora Ries writes, the census currently counts all noncitizens—from green card holders to illegal aliens—in addition to U.S. citizens for the purposes of apportioning congressional districts among the states. The more citizens in a state, the more congressional districts—i.e., seats in Congress—a state gets. In turn, the number of congressional districts in a state determines how many Electoral College votes that state receives. (Heritage founded The Daily Signal in 2014.)

While president, Donald Trump tried to restore the U.S. citizenship question on the 2020 census and exclude all noncitizens from apportionment calculations. Yet court challenges prevented him from doing so prior to the deadline for getting a new census form printed and distributed. Joe Biden then immediately terminated the effort when he took office. That should tell you which states and party benefit most from the population overcount.

The second way mass illegal immigration undermines U.S. elections is through negligence and fraud. Only American citizens can legally vote; it is a crime for a noncitizen to vote. Yet, in many states, noncitizens can easily register and vote with little chance of detection.

The 1993 National Voter Registration Act, known as “Motor Voter,” was intended to make it easier for U.S. citizens to register to vote when they applied for or renewed a driver’s license. However, Motor Voter also made it easier for noncitizens to accidentally or purposefully get on voter rolls.

In December 2022, the Reno Gazette Journal reported that if applicants applying for a Nevada driver’s license check the online box saying they are eligible to vote, their information is sent to Nevada’s secretary of state for registration. The Washoe County Registrar’s Office told the Gazette Journal that it is possible for a noncitizen to register by falsely claiming citizenship (though this is a felony). Moreover, Nevada accepts alien work authorization cards as proof of identity. Millions of aliens the Biden administration has released into the country are eligible for such cards and could register to vote in Nevada and other states with similar registration processes with little risk of detection.

It would seem to be common sense for all states to want to close loopholes and maintain confidence in their electoral systems. Yet, one of the biggest canards in American politics today is to equate election integrity efforts—like ensuring proper identification or limiting mail-in and early voting—with voter suppression.

There was real and shameful voter suppression in our nation’s past. Efforts in the post-Civil War South to deter blacks from registering included discriminatory literacy tests and poll taxes; police intimidation at polling places; and at the extreme, cross-burnings, bombings, and even killings. But the civil rights movement, strong new laws, and voter-registration drives ended the “Jim Crow” era by the 1960s. Poll taxes and literacy tests were banned.

In 2022, 98.9% of voters in Georgia “felt safe in their polling location” and “98.9% reported no issues casting a ballot,” according to a University of Georgia postelection poll. Nonetheless, legitimate efforts to ensure that voters are legally entitled to vote, that they do so in accordance with the law, and that their votes are properly counted are falsely labeled as voter suppression.

“Americans need and deserve a system in which it is easy to vote and hard to cheat,” says The Heritage Foundation, which publishes a state-by-state Election Integrity Scorecard to encourage best practices from electoral officials and vigilance by voters.

As Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger recently wrote in The Wall Street Journal, “Ensuring that only American citizens vote in American elections is a straightforward requirement for maintaining election security and public trust.”

And yet, progressive groups seem intent on fighting efforts to ensure that voter rolls contain only eligible voters. The logical inference is that they believe ineligible noncitizens would be more likely to vote for their candidates. As Raffensperger writes, these activists want states “to rely on a person’s word” when registering to vote and oppose all efforts to verify citizenship. Unfortunately, in the real world, people sometimes lie—especially when there are no consequences.

A Heritage database currently records 1,500 cases of proven election fraud nationwide—and that is merely a sampling. When it comes to abusing absentee ballots, most of the perpetrators in the database are Americans. But on just the first page (of five) for one state (North Carolina) are cases of noncitizens from the Congo, Guatemala, Mexico, and Nigeria convicted of falsely claiming American citizenship to register to vote. They committed a fundamental offense against our democracy, and yet most of them got a one-year pretrial “diversion program,” after completion of which, charges were dropped.

Some states are better than others regarding voter integrity. Virginia cross-references Motor Voter data with the Department of Homeland Security’s Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements system, and “since 2014, has removed 11,000 ‘declared non-citizen[s]’” from the voter rolls, according to the Public Interest Legal Foundation. Meanwhile, the foundation is suing Wisconsin and Minnesota for lack of transparency with their voter rolls.

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, recently introduced the Safeguard American Voter Eligibility (SAVE) Act to require states to obtain proof of citizenship—in person—when registering an individual to vote. Further, the bill requires states to remove noncitizens from existing voter rolls.  

Meanwhile, this week, the House passed the Equal Representation Act, a bill that would restore the U.S. citizenship question to the census and exclude noncitizens from congressional apportionment. The bill passed 206-202 by a completely party-line vote. Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., forced a vote on a similar bill in the Senate in March, but it failed 51-45. All of the Democrats and one Republican voted against it.

Election integrity shouldn’t be a liberal versus conservative issue, and maintaining accurate voter rolls is a national, not a political, goal. Impartial legislation to ensure both integrity and accuracy ahead of our next election and census should receive bipartisan support.  

The BorderLine is a weekly Daily Signal feature examining everything from the unprecedented illegal immigration crisis at the border to immigration’s impact on cities and states throughout the land. We will also shed light on other critical border-related issues like human trafficking, drug smuggling, terrorism, and more.

Read Other BorderLine Columns:

The Ideological Roots of the Open Borders Push

US Should Adopt UK’s ‘Rwanda Plan’ to Address Illegal Immigration

Biden’s Precarious Parole Programs for Illegal Immigrants

My Look Inside Biden’s Illegal Immigrant Catch-and-Release Craziness

What I Saw on My Latest Visit to the Border

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.