In a unanimous vote in Hyattsville, Maryland, city council members approved a city-only ordinance that allows anyone to vote, no matter your legal status.
While the vote passed unanimously, not everyone was for the new law. Council members Paula Perry and Ruth Ann Frazier disagree with the ordinance, but voted along with their peers.
According to wusa9, the opposing council members had one concern, “why would anyone want citizenship if they can vote without it?”
According to officials, 35 percent of Hyattsville population is foreign born. This number includes Franklin Ventura, an illegal immigrant who fled to the U.S. from El Salvador, said, ““Allowing us to vote, it feels like you’re actually being included for the first time. That’s the way I see it.”
Ventura who has been living in Hyattsville for approximately 12 years, says that he has tried to obtain his citizenship but that there are “no avenues for him to citizenship.” Ventura says that he pays taxes and contributes to his community and sees no reason, “why we wouldn’t be able to,” he references to voting.
Hyattsville mayor, Candace Hollingsworth, agrees with Ventura. “This is where people feel and see the benefits and impact of decision making every day. If we decide we want to change the trash collection service whether you’re a citizen or not, you’re affected by that,” said the mayor.
According to the Washington Post, to register to vote, noncitizens must have lived in Hyattsville for at least 30 days. The ruling has no other political law effects as, they are still barred from running for office and from voting in county, state or federal elections.
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