Puerto Rico is undergoing a widespread debate regarding the governor’s plans to support a bill extending voting rights to all island residents, regardless of immigration status. Puerto Rico’s largely Dominican immigrant community has celebrated the proposal, but opponents say the move will undermine the privileges granted by citizenship. Gov. Alejandro García Padilla declared last month he would submit legislation allowing all noncitizen residents to vote in islandwide elections, a move with significant implications for the hundreds of thousands of Dominican immigrants estimated to be living on the island.
“Because of the immigration status of many of the adopted children of this land, circumstances that have nothing to do with their work or efforts to benefit our country, they have been denied the vote,” Padilla said in a speech, according to local reports.
Padilla also voiced support for legislation to allow immigrants to open bank accounts, regardless of status. But while he couched his proposals in a broader message on social justice and inclusion, other politicians have accused him of diluting the meaning of citizenship. “We understand it is unconstitutional,” Pedro Pierluisi, a political opponent of Padilla and resident commissioner of Puerto Rico in the U.S. House of Representatives, said, according to local media.
Full Article: Puerto Rico To Debate Voting Rights For Noncitizens.