New York City Council appeals decision regarding Non Citizen Voting

New York City Council appeals decision regarding Non Citizen Voting

New York City, NY: The New York City Council has petitioned the highest court of the state to vacate decisions that invalidated legislation permitting non-citizens to participate in local elections.

On Monday, on behalf of the City Council, the New York City Law Department filed a notice of appeal, stating that it intends to petition the New York State Court of Appeals for a reversal of the February decision that deemed the council-approved law of 2021 invalid.

Rendy Desamours, a spokesman for the Council, said in a statement, “Enabling New Yorkers to participate in our local democratic process can only strengthen New York City through increased civic engagement.” “We look forward to the Court of Appeals’ consideration of the Council’s appeal.”

The action is in line with a comparable petition filed by immigrant rights organizations, which also urges the Court of Appeals to overturn a 3-1 decision rendered by the Appellate Division of the Second Judicial Department in favor of the Republicans who opposed the legislation. The appeals court upheld their legal challenge, contending that the provision in the state Constitution stating “every citizen shall be entitled to vote” exclusively pertains to citizens of the United States.

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The legislation mandates that individuals residing in New York City who possess federal work authorization, including green card holders, be permitted to participate in local elections for positions such as mayor and City Council. An additional 800,000 eligible electors were anticipated to register in New York City, which is home to nearly 8.5 million people.

As the legal dispute unfolds, New York City contends with the consequences of an over 183,000-migrant influx that has occurred in the last year as a result of an immigration surge along the U.S.-Mexico frontier. This situation has incurred the city an estimated $2 billion in expenses and has emerged as a contentious issue in city politics.

The administration of Mayor Eric Adams defended the law and appealed a lower court’s decision to strike it down, but the Democrat has remained largely reticent regarding whether or not he intends to appeal the court’s decision. He did not affix his signature to the council’s appeal.

Pro-immigration advocates lauded the decision to appeal the Appellate Division’s ruling, arguing that hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, who reside, work, and pay taxes in the city, are deprived of a voice in decision-making.

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“Immigrants are the backbone of New York’s communities and economy,” said Murad Awawdeh, president and chief executive officer of the New York Immigration Coalition, in a statement. “But despite their contributions as taxpayers and community-members, many immigrant New Yorkers do not have the right to participate in local decision-making.”

One of several Republican lawmakers who filed the legal challenge was Rep. Nicole Malliokotis, R-New York. In her dissent, she implored the City Council to “avoid wasting additional taxpayer funds” by appealing the ruling and “concentrate on the needs of hardworking New Yorkers who are confronted with numerous public safety and quality of life concerns.”

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