New Haven mayor: Let illegal immigrants vote!

You read that headline right. While the GOP candidates squabble about whether support for in-state tuition or a path to citizenship might as well be support for amnesty, the mayor of New Haven, Ct., comes right out with it. He supports amnesty — and not even stealthily. NBC Connecticut reports:

New Haven Mayor John DeStefano plans to ask the state Legislature to allow illegal immigrants who live in the city to be able vote in municipal elections.

DeStefano said on Tuesday that the proposal would build a more engaged community and follows the lead of other cities, the New Haven Independent reports.

Immigrants who are in the U.S. legally or illegally and cannot vote now would still be unable to vote in state or federal elections.

DeStefano, a Democrat, said illegal immigrants pay taxes indirectly through rent and send their kids to New Haven schools and should be able to vote.

I know, I know. He didn’t really propose amnesty. After all, his plan wouldn’t allow undocumented immigrants citizenship — and it still bars them from voting in state and national elections. But what is citizenship if not the right to participate in government at any level? This should be so self-evidently counterproductive and undermining as to need no response at all.

Every timid half-measure that is ever proposed as a solution to “deal with” illegal immigration ignores the fundamental problem. At some point, we will have to revisit the quota system and the process to become a citizen of this country, in general. We will have to ask ourselves seriously what the meaning of United States citizenship really is — and what it takes to earn it. We will also have to decide how welcoming we want and can afford to be. Sound immigration policy need not be inhumane, but it also need not be determined solely by compassionate considerations.

The issue is decidedly complex, but only because we haven’t clearly defined what our priorities should be.