New York City Council calls on Court of Appeals to reverse ruling barring illegal immigrants from voting in local elections

Staten Island President Vito Fossella argued that the City Council has "no authority" to give illegal immigrants the right to vote.

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC

On Monday, the New York City Law Department filed a notice of appeal on behalf of the City Council calling on the New York Court of Appeals to strike down two rulings that determined that the law they passed to give illegal immigrants the right to vote in local elections was unconstitutional.

The Staten Island Supreme Court and the Second Appellate Division for the New York Supreme Court ruled against the proposal in 2022 and February of this year, respectively, but it was the latter that blocked it from coming into effect.

"The Council passed Local Law 11 of 2022 to enfranchise 800,000 New Yorkers who live in our city, pay taxes, and contribute to our communities," City Council spokesperson Rendy Desamours wrote in a statement. "Empowering New Yorkers to participate in our local democratic process can only strengthen New York City by increasing civic engagement."

He went on to explain that the filing to appeal the Second Department's decision "seeks a determination from the state’s highest court that the law is consistent with the State Constitution, Election Law, and the Municipal Home Rule Law."

Staten Island President Vito Fossella, one of the lawmakers who filed the original challenge, argued that the City Council has "no authority" to give illegal immigrants the right to vote.

He pointed out, per the New York Post, that, "in plain English, the New York state constitution says only citizens have a right to vote in these elections."

As the Post reports, while Mayor Eric Adams had signed on as a co-defendant in previous legal challenges involving allowing illegal immigrants to vote, his name was absent from the City Council's latest appeal.

Since the proposal was first introduced, New York City has been hit by an unprecedented influx of illegal immigrants. The situation has deteriorated to the point where Adams suggested it could "destroy" the city.

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