Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) announced Friday that he plans to introduce legislation to withhold federal funds from cities that permit people who are not citizens to vote. His move came just one day after the New York City Council voted to give non-citizens the right to vote in local elections.
"No city which allows non-U.S. citizens to vote should receive U.S. government funds," Rubio wrote in a tweet. "Next week I am going to file a bill to make that the law."
No city which allows non-U.S. citizens to vote should receive U.S. government funds
Next week I am going to file a bill to make that the law
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) December 10, 2021
Rubio previously said in a November statement that actions taken by the Biden administration have escalated the number of illegal immigrants in America.
"Since his candidacy, President Biden has repeatedly signaled that America's borders are open," Rubio said. "It's no wonder illegal immigration has skyrocketed as a result. Now, the Biden Administration is seeking to pay large sums of money to those who sought to illegally cross our border. This is complete and utter lunacy. I will not allow American taxpayers to be forced into paying reparations to those who broke the law."
The measure does not allow people who are in the U.S. illegally to vote, but it does apply to about 800,000 of New York City's non-citizens, which adds up to about 10 percent of the registered voters in America's largest city.
Republicans are threatening legal challenges against the measure. Opponents say the council lacks the authority on its own to grant voting rights to non-citizens and should have first sought action by state lawmakers.
Councilwoman Inna Vernikov (R-Brooklyn), a native of Ukraine, said extending voting rights to non-citizens is a "slap in the face" to immigrants who worked hard to earn their citizenship, according to the newspaper.
And legal experts are raising questions about the legality of the law.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), who will leave office in January, expressed concern over the bill, according to The Hill.
"I have mixed feelings. I've been very open about it on this law and I think there are big legal questions, but I also respect the city council. They made a decision," de Blasio said.
Last month he indicated that he has no plans to veto the non-citizen voting bill, which is expected to come up for a vote in the City Council before the end of the year.
The move directs the Board of Elections to draw up an implementation plan by July. Non-citizens wouldn't be allowed to vote until elections in 2023.