4 States Addressed Illegal Immigration on Ballot, but More Need to Do So

COMMENTARY Immigration

4 States Addressed Illegal Immigration on Ballot, but More Need to Do So

Nov 14, 2022 5 min read
COMMENTARY BY
Hannah Davis

Research Assistant, Border Security and Immigration Center

Hannah is a research assistant in The Heritage Foundation’s Border Security and Immigration Center.
State leaders should note the outcome of immigration-related ballot measures in four states.  seksan Mongkhonkhamsao / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

Voters weighed in on immigration-related ballot questions in Arizona, Massachusetts, Nebraska, and Ohio that provide models for introduction of similar measures.

Voters approved Issue 2, which will amend the Ohio Constitution to limit voting in state and local elections to U.S. citizens.   

If states continue to sit back and allow illegal immigrants to pour in, crime rates and taxes will continue to skyrocket.

While most eyes are on the emerging new balance of power in Congress as vote counts continue after Tuesday’s midterm elections, state leaders should note the outcome of immigration-related ballot measures in four states. 

Voters weighed in on immigration-related ballot questions in Arizona, Massachusetts, Nebraska, and Ohio that provide models for introduction of similar measures in other states. Here’s a roundup. 

Arizona 

Voters in the Grand Canyon State considered two immigration-related ballot measures.   

Voters approved Proposition 308, reversing a 2006 ballot question, Proposition 300, which provided in-state college tuition rates regardless of immigration status.   

But voters rejected Proposition 309, which would have required voters to present a photo ID and dissolved the use of alternative identifications. 

What do these results mean for Arizona? Taxpayers will wind up paying more so noncitizens can reap the benefits of lower college tuition. More than 3,600 students annually will benefit in a direct violation of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, which states

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an alien who is not lawfully present in the United States shall not be eligible on the basis of residence within a State (or a political subdivision) for any postsecondary education benefit unless a citizen or national of the United States is eligible for such a benefit (in no less an amount, duration, and scope) without regard to whether the citizen or national is such a resident. 

Approval of Proposition 308 is an egregious slap in the face to many deserving U.S. citizens who should take precedence and be provided the financial relief of in-state tuition.  

These same taxpayers will go to the polls in the future only to witness the erosion of election integrity.  

Whether it be voter impersonation, double voting, or voting by illegal aliens, voter fraud does exist. The result of the approved ballot question in Arizona will be skewed election results, deflated voter morale, and more incentivization to reside within the U.S. illegally. 

Massachusetts

Although its license plates bear the slogan “The Spirit of America,” the commonwealth of Massachusetts continues to provide a haven for illegal aliens, proving that spirit derelict. 

Massachusetts voters Tuesday approved a ballot measure upholding the Work and Family Mobility Act, which the Legislature passed earlier in the year to allow illegal aliens to get driver’s licenses.   

Prohibiting driver’s licenses to illegal aliens, however, mitigates the ability of unlawful residents to receive downstream advantages—such as being able to vote, open a bank account, or obtain government benefits. 

Nebraska 

Voters approved Measure 432 with 66% of the vote, agreeing to amend the Nebraska Constitution to require voters to show a valid photo ID.  

By approving the initiative, Nebraskans maintain the rule of law and put legal citizens first. Measure 432 gives discretion to future state legislators to design an accommodating law for voters when they arrive at the polls.   

In 2016, illegal aliens comprised 41% of Nebraska’s immigrant population; with recent influxes at the southern border, that number likely has increased substantially. Ensuring that voters provide proof of identity assists with legal voting and secures the validity of elections.  

Ohio 

Voters approved Issue 2, which will amend the Ohio Constitution to limit voting in state and local elections to U.S. citizens.   

In doing so, Ohio joins the ranks of Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, and North Dakota, meaning that six states now constitutionally require a valid ID to vote. 

Ohioans’ approval of Issue 2 proves that states care about election integrity and the effects of illegal immigration. Many other states have begun to extend the unconstitutional right to vote to illegal aliens, catalyzing inconsistency in local elections and encouraging future illegal immigration. 

Ensuring that only U.S. citizens may vote upholds the rights of citizenship and helps shield the sanctity of democracy from malign, outside influence.

As seen by the Biden Justice Department’s lawsuit against Arizona, when states say they want only citizens to vote, the government cracks down. Allowing noncitizen voting dilutes the voting rights of those who are lawfully here.  

The motivation behind President Joe Biden’s fearmongering tactics shed light on the Left’s intent: Dissolve the southern border, purposefully skew and erode electoral integrity, and sue states that interfere with that agenda.  

Other states must take heed and realize they have room to legislate on immigration matters within state authorities, such as defining residence, benefit eligibility, employment, licensing, education, elections, law enforcement, and information sharing.  

To uphold immigration laws, prevent costs associated with illegal immigration, and protect legal residents, states should embrace these authorities and pass related legislation.   

What Else Can States Do? 

As seen with this year’s midterm elections, voters will show up to rake control over their states’ laws.   

It so happens that four states offered a total of five immigration-related ballot measures. No such questions were on state ballots in 2020, meaning that, within two years, the citizens of certain states realized that Biden’s border crisis results in disastrous consequences nationwide. 

The infrastructure of the American immigration system has been dismantled by leftist, open-border policies. Illegal immigration, as a whole, has soared to record highs under the Biden administration.  

Luckily, state citizens have vital roles as well as the power to decide their fates when it comes to spending tax money on those who disrespect the laws of the nation. 

If states continue to sit back and allow illegal immigrants to pour in, crime rates and taxes will continue to skyrocket. School systems and medical facilities will become inundated by those who pay nothing into them but reap the benefits regardless.  

Cities slowly will morph into sanctuaries for nongovernment organizations that transport and harbor illegal aliens. Lawlessness will continue to bourgeon. 

With Congress fairly evenly divided, lawmakers’ inability to pass needed border security and immigration legislation will continue.  

As such, it is critical that states step into the void and legislate where they can to improve conditions within their own borders, prevent illegal immigration, and uphold the rule of law.    

This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal