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Choosing our elected leaders in the voting booth is one of our most sacred rights and serious responsibilities as American citizens. Yet some states are now pushing to hand this privilege and civic duty over to people who are in our country illegally, undermining both our electoral process and what it means to be an American citizen.

Cities in California, Illinois, and Maryland are taking the extreme step of disregarding their state constitutions and registering illegal immigrants to vote in elections. This is the latest push by the radical left to give illegal immigrants the rights and privileges reserved for American citizens, without any respect to the rule of law and our immigration process. Thankfully federal law currently bans illegal immigrants from voting in federal elections, but this is a crowd that has no respect for the law: they ignored federal laws when they established "sanctuary city" policies, and they turned their noses up at their state constitutions which bar illegal immigrants from voting. If laws mean nothing to them, what will stop states from pushing for illegal immigrants to vote for President and other federal offices?

The value of our citizenship, the rights and privileges it guarantees, and the rule of law have to be upheld. That’s why in Congress I’ve authored a bill to defund sanctuary cities and successfully passed it out of the House of Representatives, and I’ve stood with President Trump to secure the border. Recently I voted in the House of Representatives to send a message to these radical cities: that allowing illegal immigrants the right to vote not only undermines the importance of citizenship, but also weakens the power of the vote for law-abiding citizens.

It’s clear what liberals are really pushing for – completely open borders. First they attacked the idea of physical border security, saying it’s unnecessary or even racist for the United States to protect its borders. They support "catch and release" policies and want to gut the Immigrations and Custom Enforcement Agency (ICE), the people who enforce our immigration laws and stop criminals and gangs from moving drugs and trafficking victims across the border. Liberal towns have declared themselves "sanctuary cities," where they ban local law enforcement from reporting illegal immigration activity to federal authorities. And now they’re pushing for illegal immigrants to have more of an impact in our elections.

This all begs the question – if you can walk across the border without fear of apprehension, break the law knowing your local government won’t report you, and receive benefits and voting privileges without paying taxes, why would you become a citizen? Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?

Handing over the right to vote to someone who has already broken our federal laws is disrespectful to every citizen, whether born in the U.S. or not. It dilutes the value of our citizenship and our votes. And it especially degrades the work of legal immigrants who earned their citizenship the hard way – and swore an oath to our Constitution.

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