The proposal — which is winning support from the city’s black and Hispanic activists — was recently discussed at a Black and Latino Legislative Caucus event in Albany.
“We want to expand the right to vote for everybody, not suppress the vote. What a radical idea,” said Bertha Lewis, head of the Black Institute, which is part of a coalition of immigration-rights groups campaigning for the bill. She said it is expected to be introduced this spring.
There are an estimated 1.3 million noncitizen residents in the city, about 500,000 of whom are undocumented. Neither the documented green-card holders nor the illegal aliens are allowed to vote.
Queens Councilman Dan Dromm submitted legislation several years ago to extend voting rights to “lawful residents” — noncitizens with green cards. Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito was a co-sponsor of the bill, which has never been put up for a vote.
Lewis, whose Black Institute advocates for African and Caribbean immigrants, said such rights should be expanded to cover the mostly minority, undocumented immigrants who work hard, raise families and contribute billions of dollars to the city’s economy.
She sees it as an extension of Mayor de Blasio’s Municipal ID card offered to all residents — including those who are undocumented.
“People want to come out of the shadows,” Lewis said.
Lewis has had conversations with legislators including Viverito, Dromm and Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams, among others, about expanding rights to illegal aliens.
A Viverito spokesman noted that the council supports extending voting rights to green-card holders, but he stopped short Sunday of saying she would back voting rights for illegal immigrants.
Williams, however, endorsed the proposal.
“There will be a lot of support for it in the City Council. We want people to participate in civic life and be invested in what happens. It will lead to a healthier community,” said Williams.
But state Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long panned the idea, saying liberals may be pushing noncitizen voting to boost Democratic Party enrollment and “buy votes.”
“This is outrageous . . . American Citizens have the right to determine the destiny of towns, villages, cities, states and the country,” Long said.
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