Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Malloy Cool To DeStefano

Governor Dannel Malloy, we are advised by Newsday, has reacted “coolly Wednesday to New Haven Mayor John DeStefano's plan to ask the Connecticut General Assembly to allow illegal immigrants who live in the city to vote in municipal elections.”

Mr. Malloy explained, "It's not an idea that I'm particularly comfortable with. I think there are obligations that run with citizenship and there are privileges that run with citizenship."

On the other hand, Mr. Malloy was not so offended as to freeze out Mr. DeStefano entirely, as he had done in the case of General Assembly Republicans who wanted a bit of input during the governor’s meandering budget negotiations with state union workers.

Mr. Malloy told Newsday that “he was willing to ‘hear the mayor out’ on his proposal, which follows the lead of other cities.”

This “man bites dog” story first appeared in the New Haven Independent, was picked up by NBC Connecticut and found its way into The Drudge Report. It will not be long before someone in China or Nigeria – Drudge has a long reach – happens on the story and begins to wonder whether New Haven is a country separate from the United States.

DeStefano has announced plans “to lobby the state for a ‘resident voting rights’ bill that would allow any resident of New Haven—regardless of immigration status—to vote in municipal elections in New Haven. He said he’ll launch the effort during this upcoming legislative session, which runs from February to May.”

The bill, Mr. DeStefano said, is about “how you define community, and how you define responsibility in community.”

President of the World Policy Institute Michele Wucker, the author of “Lockout: Why America Keeps Getting Immigration Wrong When Our Prosperity Depends on Getting It Right,” offered a novel take on duel citizenship to justify Mr. DeStefano’s possible bill:

“The idea is that when you live in a city, you are essentially a citizen of that city, which is separate from federal or national citizenship. The logic is that everybody is better off when everyone on their block and in their town has a stake in staying on top of issues and working together and to get safe and clean streets, good schools, reliable transportation, and good health care.”

It is not clear at this writing whether the General Assembly would be willing to consider New Haven the equivalent of a separate state, conferring upon its illegal residents a right of citizenship that is usually a prerequisite to voting in municipal elections. But the fearless Democratic dominated legislature should not be underestimated.

The mayor of New Haven has estimated that his city is home to 10,000 “non-citizen immigrants,” half of them above the age of 18. Mr. DeStefano, according to the New Haven Independent story, was launched into the national spotlight in 2007 when during his “quest to make New Haven more inclusive of its immigrant community” he issued a general order preventing police in New Haven from “inquiring into people’s immigration status,” for of course such inquiries might have disclosed that nearly as many members of the New Haven “immigrant community” were “illegal immigrants” as opposed to legal immigrants.

Taking a progressive leap forward, the mayor has now proposed to convert 10,000 non-citizen illegal immigrants into Democratic voters, and 10,000 municipal votes certainly would represent a safe buffer for Mr. DeStefano. The mayor’s success easily could be repeated in other Democratic dominated cities. Many large cities in Connecticut are secure Democratic bastions, and allowing illegal residents to vote sure beats other historic forms of voting irregularities that had been winked at in the good old days of Tammy Hall by Democratic Party bosses. In pre-Civil War New York, the Dead Rabbits, a political gang then supporting New York Mayor Fernando Wood, secured his re-election by forging votes using the names of dead people.

Robbing votes from graves is perhaps too obvious a fraud to pass muster in modern day Connecticut among party bosses, some of whom are mayors. God does not always sleep; neither do newly elected governors or the sometimes drowsy tribunes of the people. Allowing non-citizens to vote is a bit more subtle than the methods employed by Mr. Wood of blessed memory and his Dead Rabbits. Even so, it may be politically risky to ignore obvious distinctions. To many people it is a matter of some importance whether a voter is dead or alive, a citizen or a non-citizen.
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