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How States Can Use Existing Laws To Find Foreign Nationals On Their Voter Rolls


To find foreign nationals on their voter rolls, states can use two little-known federal statutes to verify whether a registered voter is an American citizen through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), according to America First Legal (AFL).

AFL sent letters on Monday to each state’s chief election official — along with a copy to their respective governors and attorneys general — highlighting two statutes that the legal group says allow states and localities to request information about a person’s citizenship and immigration status. If requested, AFL contends, DHS is required to provide such information.

AFL first points to 8 U.S.C. § 1373(c), which requires the former Immigration and Naturalization Service — which was replaced by the DHS — to “respond to an inquiry by a Federal, State, or local government agency, seeking to verify or ascertain the citizenship or immigration status of any individual within the jurisdiction of the agency for any purpose authorized by law, by providing the requested verification or status information.”

AFL also points to 8 U.S.C. § 1644, which states:

Notwithstanding any other provision of Federal, State, or local law, no State or local government entity may be prohibited, or in any way restricted, from sending to or receiving from the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of an alien in the United States.

“Accordingly, States and localities should submit requests to DHS to verify the citizenship or immigration status of registered voters on voter rolls where there are any reliable indicators that a voter may not be a U.S. citizen,” AFL summarized in a press release.

AFL President Stephen Miller pointed to the record-high number of illegal aliens crossing the border under President Joe Biden, calling it an “extraordinary threat to our elections.”

“Any leader who wishes to protect the franchise of their citizens must act to implement these recommendations with haste,” Miller said in a statement. “Patriotic officials must act at once to stop Biden’s illegals from voting — and this action plan from AFL tells them exactly what they must do.”

Alien voting in federal elections is illegal, but the federally-mandated registration process doesn’t meaningfully prevent it. A potential voter who registers via a federal registration form simply must check a box affirming he is a U.S. citizen. Republicans have introduced the Safeguarding American Voter Eligibility (SAVE) Act which would require documentary proof of citizenship in order to register to vote.

Currently, Arizona is the only state that has some mechanism in place besides the honor system to keep foreign nationals from registering to vote. The state requires potential voters to provide documentary proof of citizenship to register to vote in state elections. But thanks to federal government interference, individuals who cannot prove their citizenship for state registration can still register as federal-only voters.

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