Stephen Dinan, Washington Times, February 12, 2015
President Obama’s temporary deportation amnesty will make it easier for illegal immigrants to improperly register and vote in elections, state elections officials testified to Congress on Thursday, saying that the driver’s licenses and Social Security numbers they will be granted create a major voting loophole.
While stressing that it remains illegal for noncitizens to vote, secretaries of state from Ohio and Kansas said they won’t have the tools to sniff out illegal immigrants who register anyway, ignoring stiff penalties to fill out the registration forms that are easily available at shopping malls, motor vehicle bureaus and in curbside registration drives.
Anyone registering to vote attests that he or she is a citizen, but Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said mass registration drives often aren’t able to give due attention to that part, and so illegal immigrants will still get through.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris W. Kobach said even some motor vehicle bureau workers automatically ask customers if they want to register to vote, which some noncitizens in the past have cited as their reason for breaking the law to register.
“It’s a guarantee it will happen,” Mr. Kobach said.
The hearing was the latest GOP effort to dent Mr. Obama’s executive action, announced in November, which grants tentative legal status and work permits to as many as 4 million illegal immigrant parents whose children are either U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. The president also expanded a 2012 policy for so-called Dreamers, or illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, granting them tentative legal status and work permits as well.
Republicans say there are a host of unintended consequences, including the chances of illegal voting, a perverse incentive created by Obamacare that would make newly legalized workers more attractive to some businesses than American workers and complications with the tax code.
The newly legalized workers can apply for back refunds from the IRS even for years when they didn’t file their taxes, agency Commissioner John Koskinen told Congress on Wednesday.
Only four states require proof of citizenship before someone registers to vote, Mr. Kobach said. And even in those states, the federal government offers voter registration cards that don’t require proof of citizenship, giving determined illegal immigrants a way to circumvent checks.