On July 4, 2017, 15,000 immigrants were sworn in as new American citizens -- something each and every one of them worked hard to attain. On that day, they earned the most sought-after citizenship in the world and swore they would support and defend our Constitution. And on that day, along with their citizenship, they were granted the right and the responsibility to vote.
Voting is a right that we, as Americans, hold dear. It is the right to choose the leaders who represent us. It is the foundation of a democratic republic. That’s why we must protect that right and not minimize the value of it by allowing noncitizens the same right.
There are more than 11 million illegal immigrants currently living in the United States. These illegal aliens have crossed our borders, violated our laws and ignored the processes we have in place to keep our citizens safe.
And, yet, there are cities throughout the United States that willingly ignore this violation of the law. Many cities, like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, proudly call themselves “sanctuary cities,” where violent illegal aliens can find refuge and forgiveness for any violations of the law they have committed. These sanctuary cities put the safety of all American citizens at risk to harbor fugitives.
Even worse, some cities across our nation have taken it a step further. Not only are they allowing violent illegal aliens to remain within their boundaries without the threat of getting caught, but some cities are going so far as to grant illegal aliens the right to vote in America.
In San Francisco, voters passed a proposition in 2016 that grants illegal aliens with school age children the right to vote in school board elections. The proponents of the measure argued that they wanted better representation on the school board, and, if their kids -- children of illegal immigrants -- are in school, then they should have a voice on the school board.
Now, a college town in Maryland is mulling a similar initiative. College Park is currently weighing a new measure to permit illegal aliens to vote in elections. Proponents of the measure argue that residents -- no matter their legal status -- rely on critical government services and should have the opportunity to weigh in. Should College Park approve this absurd measure, it would be one of 11 cities in the Maryland to do so.
Cities like San Francisco and College Park, among others, have lost their American values, and have been overrun by liberals. They have forgotten the principles our nation was founded on -- the right for American citizens to choose our leaders -- in granting foreigners who violated our laws to come to our country the right to shape our country’s future through voting.
It is simple: You are either an American citizen or you are not. If you are, you enjoy the rights and privileges of American citizenship. And you also bear the responsibility to ensure its safety and survival for generations to come. The right to vote should not be allowed or practiced by anyone who was not born in our country or who has not taken the necessary, legally required steps to become a citizen of our nation. This right is too precious to grant to those who have not earned it.
Adam Putnam is a native of Bartow. He is a Republican running for governor.