President Trump has often criticized San Francisco’s sanctuary policy for harboring people in the country unlawfully. Now the city is bracing for additional criticism from the federal government as it prepares to become the first city in the state and one of the first in the country to allow noncitizens to vote in local elections. Proposition N passed in November. It will allow noncitizens, including people in the country illegally, who have children in the city’s school district to vote in local school board elections. Supporters want to give immigrant parents more of a voice in how the city’s public schools are run.
“We need to ensure that all our parents are engaged in the governance and future of our schools,” said David Chiu, who represents San Francisco in the state Assembly. Chiu supported the measure, and in the state Legislature he is authoring several bills to protect immigrants from what he sees as overreach by the federal government. He notes that for much of the nation’s history until the early 20th century, noncitizens routinely voted in most states.
“The premise was that we wanted immigrants to be assimilated as quickly as possible into our democratic institutions, including voting,” Chiu said.