citizenship

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Texas: Secretary of state apologizes for how he rolled out voter citizenship review. But he still supports the effort. | The Texas Tribune

Facing an uncertain path to confirmation after ordering a deeply flawed voter citizenship review that seemingly focused on naturalized citizens, Texas Secretary of State David Whitley is apologizing to state lawmakers for the way his office bungled its rollout of the review — but he is still holding firm behind the overall effort. In a letter sent to state lawmakers late Wednesday, Whitley largely defended the review efforts as a legally sound exercise, and he did not admit that his office had erred when it mistakenly threw into question the eligibility of tens of thousands of U.S. citizens or when it sent counties lists of voters it knew very likely included naturalized citizens. Instead, Whitley vaguely admitted there were some shortcomings to the data his office used to flag almost 100,000 registered voters for citizenship reviews and noted his office should have devoted more time to “additional communication” with local and state officials to “further eliminate anyone from our original list who is, in fact, eligible to vote.”

Full Article: David Whitley delivered Texas lawmakers an apology over citizenship review | The Texas Tribune.

Editorials: As a Citizen Included on Texas’ Fake Voter Fraud List, I Call for the Resignation of Secretary of State David Whitley | Julieta Garibay/Texas Observer

I still remember the day of my citizenship exam. It was a cold Monday in November 2017, at the San Antonio office of U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS). I had relentlessly studied the 100 questions about the history and government of the United States that might be asked. I prayed I wouldn’t forget the answers. My heart was pounding and my stomach was in a complete knot. The USCIS agent asked: “Who is the governor of Texas?” “Abbott,” I responded. The officer sternly asked for the governor’s full name. My mind was running. A few months before, I had tweeted at Abbott when he signed SB 4 on Facebook and proudly boasted about criminalizing immigrants and making it easier for state and local police to work with the feds to detain and deport. But I could not remember his first name. I froze. The irony of my life: Would I fail my citizenship exam because I couldn’t remember the first name of the man who was hurting the immigrant community so much? The same man who is now calling into question my right to vote. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and tried to remember his Twitter handle. It came to me and I blurted, “Greg Abbott!” A few questions later, the USCIS officer said, “I am recommending you for the citizenship oath ceremony.”

Full Article: As a Citizen Included on Texas’ Fake Voter Fraud List, I Call for the Resignation of Secretary of State David Whitley.

Pennsylvania: Specious claims dog Pennsylvania’s noncitizen voter search | Associated Press

Two Pennsylvania state lawmakers are making a disputed claim in a long-running, and possibly futile, effort by elections officials to determine how many non-U.S. citizens had registered to vote over the years. On Tuesday, the lawmakers, Republican state Reps. Daryl Metcalfe and Garth Everett, issued a statement saying there had been confirmation that 11,198 foreign nationals had illegally registered to vote in Pennsylvania. But that is not what state election officials said. The Pennsylvania Department of State, which oversees elections, first reported in July that it had identified 11,198 registered voters with some indicator they may not have been a citizen. The department did not give a specific period of time for when those people registered, but said it searched every record in its database. All the names turned up in a search of the state driver license database; Pennsylvania allows residents to register to vote while getting their license, and election officials reported a flaw in that system in 2016. That’s not where it ends.

Full Article: Specious claims dog Pennsylvania’s noncitizen voter search | pennlive.com.

Texas: Voter citizenship review list has problems, state tells counties | The Texas Tribune

After flagging tens of thousands of registered voters for citizenship reviews, the Texas secretary of state’s office is now telling counties that some of those voters don’t belong on the lists it sent out. Officials in five large counties — Harris, Travis, Fort Bend, Collin and Williamson — told The Texas Tribune they had received calls Tuesday from the secretary of state’s office indicating that some of the voters whose citizenship status the state said counties should consider checking should not actually be on those lists. The secretary of state’s office incorrectly included some voters who had submitted their voting registration applications at Texas Department of Public Safety offices, according to county officials. Now, the secretary of state is instructing counties to remove them from the list of flagged voters. “We’re going to proceed very carefully,” said Douglas Ray, a special assistant county attorney in Harris County, where 29,822 voters were initially flagged by the state. A “substantial number” of them are now being marked as citizens, Ray said.

Full Article: Texas voter citizenship review list has problems, state tells counties | The Texas Tribune.

Texas: Officials Flag Tens Of Thousands Of Voters For Citizenship Checks | Texas Public Radio

The Texas secretary of state’s office announced Friday it would send local election officials a list of 95,000 registered voters who the state says counties should consider checking to see whether they are U.S. citizens and, therefore, legally eligible to vote. In an advisory released Friday afternoon, the office said it was flagging individuals who had provided the Texas Department of Public Safety with some form of documentation — including a work visa or a green card — that showed they were not a citizen when they were obtaining a driver’s license or an ID card. Among the individuals flagged, about 58,000 individuals cast a ballot in one or more elections from 1996 to 2018, the secretary of state’s office said.  It’s unclear exactly how many of those individuals are not actually U.S. citizens and whether that number will be available in the future. In its notice to counties, the secretary of state’s office said the names should be considered “WEAK” matches, using all capital letters for emphasis.

Full Article: Texas Officials Flag Tens Of Thousands Of Voters For Citizenship Checks | Texas Public Radio.

American Samoa: Trump’s birthright threat is real. Just look at American Samoa. | Slate

Unlike the recent suggestions of President Donald Trump, you cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order. Or even a bill in Congress. So says the Constitution. But don’t trust this president or the next Congress to necessarily agree with the plain meaning of these words. Or future federal officials. Or even the federal courts. Because unbeknownst to most Americans, for more than a century all three branches of government have perpetuated an unconstitutional denial of birthright citizenship. On Wednesday, the Trump administration will appear in federal court to defend the ability of the political branches to unilaterally restrict the Constitution’s guarantee of birthright citizenship. No, it will not be to defend an executive order or congressional statute denying citizenship to U.S.-born children of unauthorized immigrants. Rather, in Fitisemanu v. United States, the administration is defending the unconstitutional denial of birthright citizenship in U.S. territories before the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah. Many assume that the overwhelming bipartisan consensus condemning the constitutionality of Trump’s plan to restrict birthright citizenship by executive order or congressional statute makes such plans dead on arrival. Simply put, the original understanding of the Citizenship Clause requires recognizing all born on U.S. soil as citizens (the only narrow exceptions are for the children of foreign diplomats, enemy soldiers, or certain Indian tribes). An unbroken line of Supreme Court precedent agrees.

Full Article: Trump’s birthright threat is real. Just look at American Samoa..

National: Lawsuit claims potential voters stuck in naturalization limbo | KABC

Advocates for immigrants and voting rights filed a federal lawsuit Monday demanding information from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. The groups believe that the Trump administration is engaged in deliberate foot-dragging to potentially slow new citizens from registering as Democrats. According to federal figures, 6.6 million people followed the process and became eligible to vote in the decade before 2012. Plaintiffs said the flow has since hit a roadblock. “They have at least doubled the amount of time it takes to become a citizen,” said Peter Schey, president of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law.

Full Article: Lawsuit claims potential voters stuck in naturalization limbo | abc7.com.

Kansas: Kobach Finally Tells Clerks To Comply With Court Order On Proof-of-Citizenship | TPM

After two days of confusion — with some but not all county election officials enforcing a Kansas voting restriction struck down by a federal judge Monday — the Kansas Secretary of State’s office instructed local officials Wednesday that proof-of-citizenship was not required to register to vote. The instructions marked the end — or at least a pause — in a years-long saga of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach fighting tooth and nail to keep his signature voter restriction alive, despite multiple court rulings against it. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson issued her order Monday, after a seven-day trial in March, declaring the proof-of-citizenship requirement a violation of both the National Voter Registration Act as well as the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.

Full Article: Kobach Finally Tells Clerks To Comply With Court Order On Proof-of-Citizenship – Talking Points Memo.

Kansas: Judge rejects Kansas voter law, orders classes for Kobach | The Wichita Eagle

A federal judge has struck down a Kansas voter citizenship law that Secretary of State Kris Kobach had personally defended. Judge Julie Robinson also ordered Kobach, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, to take more hours of continuing legal education after he was found in contempt and was frequently chided during the trial over missteps. In an 118-page ruling Monday, Robinson ordered a halt to the state’s requirement that people provide proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. The decision holds the potential to make registration easier as the August and November elections approach. Robinson’s ruling amounted to a takedown of the law that Kobach had championed and lawmakers approved several years ago. She found that it “disproportionately impacts duly qualified registration applicants, while only nominally preventing noncitizen voter registration.”

Full Article: Judge rejects Kansas voter law, orders classes for Kobach | The Wichita Eagle.

Missouri: Proposed constitutional amendment would exclude non-citizens from redistricting | Columbia Missourian

A Senate committee passed a resolution Thursday that would exclude non-citizens from the state’s population count when it comes to redistricting. House Joint Resolution 100, sponsored by Rep. Dean Plocher, R-St. Louis, would make it so only U.S. citizens are counted in the population used in reapportionment. While Plocher received criticism from witnesses who said the proposal treats non-citizens as unequal, he said this measure would actually encourage people to become U.S. citizens faster.

Full Article: Proposed constitutional amendment would exclude non-citizens from redistricting | State News | columbiamissourian.com.

California: Non-citizens voting in San Francisoc school board elections to get immigration warning | The San Francisco Examiner

San Francisco’s implementation of non-citizen voting in school board elections this November will come with a warning — federal immigration enforcement officials could obtain the voter registration information. Voters approved a ballot measure in 2016 to allow non-citizens to vote in school board elections beginning in November, but there are concerns over how the federal government could use the information as President Donald Trump has targeted California and San Francisco over sanctuary policies. San Francisco plans to issue a warning in 51 languages to non-citizens before they register, including on a Department of Elections affidavit they would need to sign to register and on the Department of Elections website.

Full Article: Non-citizens voting in SF school board elections to get immigration warning - by j_sabatini - May 10, 2018 - The San Francisco Examiner.

Kansas: Kobach’s Proof-of-Citizenship Law Heads to Trial | ACLU

The federal trial over a Kansas law requiring people to show citizenship documents like a birth certificate or passport when registering to vote begins on March 6 in Kansas City. The American Civil Liberties Union will represent the League of Women Voters and several individuals whose voting rights were violated. Kris Kobach — the secretary of state of Kansas, chief architect of the law, and the defendant in the lawsuit — will represent himself. From 2013 to 2016, more than 35,000 Kansans were blocked from registering because of Kobach’s documentary proof-of-citizenship law — approximately 14 percent of new registrants. Many Kansans, including several of our clients, went to the polls on Election Day in 2014 with every reason to believe that they were registered, only to be told, “Sorry, you haven’t proven that you’re a U.S. citizen.”

Full Article: Kobach’s Proof-of-Citizenship Law Heads to Trial | American Civil Liberties Union.

National: US wants to add citizenship query to census, but group of states and DC protest | Associated Press

It’s been nearly 70 years since census-takers last asked all residents in the nation whether they were U.S. citizens. Now the Trump administration’s Justice Department wants to reinstate the citizenship question for the 2020 census and says doing so would improve voting-rights enforcement. But California, other Democratic-majority states and immigrant advocates see a more sinister purpose: to reduce census participation by intimidating undocumented immigrants and their families, and thereby lowering population counts that are the basis for determining the number of a state’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Full Article: US wants to add citizenship query to census, but group of states and DC protest - San Francisco Chronicle.

Kansas: Kobach Backs Citizenship Question, Targeting ‘One Person, One Vote’ | TPM

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has shed light on what may be driving the Trump administration’s push to ask about citizenship in the 2020 Census. In an op-ed written for Breitbart, Kobach endorses an approach to drawing voting districts in a way that would undermine the political power of immigrant-heavy communities. That approach, which culminated in a 2016 Supreme Court case, emerges from decades-old conservative opposition to the priniciple of “one person, one vote.” Kobach, a Republican who led President Trump’s now-defunct voter fraud commission, is known for pushing restrictive voting laws. In the op-ed, Kobach backs the idea of asking citizenship on the Census, something the Justice Department has also requested to be included on 2020 questionnaire.  Kobach suggests that doing so would encourage states to draw districts based on number of citizens or some similar metric. Currently, states draw districts based on total population.

Full Article: Kobach Backs Citizenship Question, Targeting ‘One Person, One Vote’ – Talking Points Memo.

National: ‘Proof of Citizenship’ Voting Laws May Surge Under Trump | Stateline

Emboldened both by President Donald Trump’s claim that millions of noncitizens voted in 2016 and by his creation of a panel to investigate the alleged fraud, lawmakers in several states want to require people registering to vote to provide proof of their citizenship – even though federal registration forms don’t require it. This year at least four states – Kansas, Maryland, Texas and Virginia – considered proof of citizenship measures, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. That means residents must provide documentation such as a passport or birth certificate when registering to vote.

Full Article: 'Proof of Citizenship' Voting Laws May Surge Under Trump.

U.S. Territories: National GOP leaders’ push for equal US citizenship is backed | Saipan Tribune

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and several members of the Legislature support the Republican Party’s push for “equal U.S. citizenship” to be extended to the three U.S. territories. Sponsored by U.S. Virgin Islands’ national committeeman Jevon Williams, the Republic National Committee last Friday adopted a resolution titled “Affirming Equal Citizenship for All Americans,” which is set to be submitted to U.S. President Donald J. Trump, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), and Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). The resolution says U.S. citizens residing in the “territories of Guam, NMI, and the Virgin Islands,” regardless of their sex, race, color, ethnicity, religion or creed, are “entitled to the full of enjoyment of their citizenship.” Americans in U.S. territories are U.S. citizens but cannot vote for the U.S. President, nor do they have full representation in Congress.

Full Article: National GOP leaders’ push for equal US citizenship is backed - Saipan News, Headlines, Events, Ads | Saipan Tribune.

Australia: Malcolm Roberts’s election may have been invalid, government solicitor tells court | The Guardian

Malcolm Roberts could be the exception among sitting parliamentarians ensnared in the dual citizen saga in that his election in 2016 may have been invalid, the high court has heard. Roberts and former senator Scott Ludlam were different to the other three politicians so far referred to the high court – Barnaby Joyce, Larissa Waters and Matt Canavan – because they knew they had been citizens of other countries, the solicitor-general, Stephen Donaghue, told the court on Thursday. Tony Windsor, the former independent MP and rival to Joyce, has been allowed to join the citizenship case, which chief justice Susan Kiefel has set down hearings in Canberra in October.

Full Article: Malcolm Roberts's election may have been invalid, government solicitor tells court | Australia news | The Guardian.

Australia: Deputy Prime Minister Can Claim New Zealand Citizenship. Too Bad for Him. | The New York Times

The citizenship scandal that has roiled Australia’s Parliament threatened to claim its biggest casualty on Monday after the deputy prime minister was revealed by the New Zealand government to be a New Zealander, unbeknown to him. The Australian Constitution prohibits people with dual citizenship from holding seats in the national legislature. Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, 50, the leader of the right-leaning National Party, has served in the House of Representatives since 2013, after serving eight years in the Senate. He is also the minister of agriculture, the source of a well-publicized dispute over dogs brought into Australia in 2015 by the actor Johnny Depp.

Full Article: Australia’s No. 2 Can Claim New Zealand Citizenship. Too Bad for Him. - The New York Times.

Editorials: Kris Kobach and Kansas’ SAFE Act | Chelsie Bright/The Conversation

If you want to understand President Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission, it helps to study what happened in Kansas. Six years before Trump was tweeting about stolen elections and unsubstantiated claims of millions of fraudulent votes, Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state, was promoting the idea that widespread voter fraud threatens the integrity of our electoral system. It should come as no surprise that Trump chose Kobach to be the vice chairman of Vice President Mike Pence’s new Commission on Election Integrity. This appointment gives Kobach a national platform by which to pursue his agenda. Kansas’ voter ID law went into effect when I was a graduate student at the University of Kansas. The pervasive campaign promoting the new law piqued my interest. My co-author and I set out to assess the impact advertisements – specifically, the “Got ID?” campaign – had on voter turnout during the 2012 election.

Full Article: Kris Kobach and Kansas' SAFE Act.

Editorials: Kobach finally convicts an immigrant, but Kansas is paying a price | The Kansas City Star

Hand out the celebratory cigars. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach finally nabbed himself an immigrant. Pardon if we don’t order the band to play. Kobach announced Wednesday that he’d achieved an elusive goal — catching an immigrant who voted illegally in a Kansas election. Victor David Garcia Bebek of Wichita pleaded guilty to voter fraud. The Peruvian native’s voting record was uncovered after he registered to vote and it was discovered that he’d already voted three times in past elections. It’s a misdemeanor. A cautionary note for those tempted to crow that the case confirms the nonsense about undocumented immigrants committing widespread voter fraud: Bebek was discovered after he gained U.S. citizenship this year. He was legally present in the country when he cast previous votes.

Full Article: Editorial: Kobach finally convicts an immigrant, but Kansas is paying a price | The Kansas City Star.