Raising concerns about election security in sanctuary jurisdictions, 23 members of Congress want the U.S. Department of Justice to pursue and prosecute noncitizens on voter rolls.
In an Oct. 9 letter, the lawmakers asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “thoroughly investigate all instances of foreign nationals, visa holders, refugees and other noncitizens that are either included in voter databases or have been found to cast ballots in any election and prosecute those violations fully.”
The letter came as the California Department of Motor Vehicles admitted it had registered 1,500 non-eligible individuals, including non-U.S. citizens, through the national Motor Voter program.
The congressmen – all Republicans — expressed particular concern about mischief in jurisdictions that have declared themselves sanctuaries for illegal aliens.
“[Sanctuary jurisdictions] already refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities …
and are ripe for widespread participation by noncitizens in our elections,” according to the letter, whose top signatory was Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala.“Their direct refusal to follow federal law leads us to believe that these sanctuary jurisdictions also defy their legal obligation to verify citizenship status when individuals register to vote.”
California declared itself a sanctuary state (an act recently ruled unconstitutional if it were applied to 121 charter cities). Other sanctuary states are Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon and Vermont, according to the Center for Immigration Studies. CIS lists more than 200 sanctuary cities and counties nationwide.
In August, the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) documented 3,100 noncitizens on voter-registration rolls in 13 locales.
The congressional letter cited “exceptional work” by one federal prosecutor as a model “that should be replicated across the country.” In action reported by FAIR last month, Robert J. Higdon Jr., U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, announced indictments against 19 foreign nationals for illegal voting and election fraud.
There’s been no public response from Sessions’ office, but election-integrity groups are betting many more cases could be made if prosecutors will start looking. “We can’t overstate the deterrent power that prosecution carries,” noted PILF Communications and Research Director Logan Churchwell.
Bob Dane writes for the Immigration Law Reform Institute.