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Trump Does What Biden Could Not

Former President Donald Trump and House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) are collaborating to promote legislation aimed at preventing noncitizens from participating in federal elections, as reported by USA Today. This initiative is being pushed forward with Johnson planning a visit to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate to discuss the bill. This comes at a time when Johnson is navigating tensions within his party, especially with those aligned with Trump, over bipartisan efforts in the House.

The potential alliance between Trump and Johnson on this issue could serve to mend the divide with conservative House members, especially following a recent setback they faced concerning surveillance legislation. However, the central focus of their meeting at Mar-a-Lago is on a topic that, while contentious, deals with an occurrence that is both infrequent and already unlawful.

Research from the Heritage Foundation indicates that incidents of noncitizen voting are exceedingly rare, with less than 50 instances found among over a thousand verified cases of voter fraud. Despite this, the act of noncitizens voting in federal elections remains explicitly prohibited under the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. Some local jurisdictions do permit noncitizen voting in certain local elections, such as those for school boards or municipal governments. For instance, the District of Columbia recently passed legislation allowing noncitizens to vote in local elections, a move upheld by a federal judge despite legal challenges.

The debate over noncitizen voting in federal elections is largely symbolic since it is already illegal and instances of such voting are minimal. Critics argue that this issue is being used politically, especially by Trump, to reinforce his stance on immigration, suggesting that migrants are attempting to influence U.S. elections through voting.

The discussion around noncitizen voting has been further complicated by political rhetoric, including a recent statement by Trump accusing President Biden of trying to convert undocumented immigrants into voters, despite the lengthy and complex process for immigrants to achieve citizenship and voting rights.

As the debate continues, the impact of noncitizen voting on election integrity remains a topic of discussion, with the Bipartisan Policy Center noting a lack of evidence that such voting or other forms of voter fraud significantly affect election outcomes. The Hill has sought responses from both Trump’s campaign and Johnson’s office regarding this legislative push.

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