Home / News / Sorry Donald, but the voting process for immigrants takes years, not months – Chicago Tribune

Sorry Donald, but the voting process for immigrants takes years, not months – Chicago Tribune


Of all the lies Donald Trump has told in and out of office, perhaps the most egregious is his ongoing claim that immigrants are being allowed into the country as part of a grand conspiracy to “overthrow” the United States.

Last weekend, while campaigning in North Carolina for the Republican presidential nomination, he repeated that baseless claim again. The Associated Press quoted Trump as saying of the current group of refugees: “They’re trying to register them so they can vote in the next election.”

“They” apparently means officials in President Joe Biden’s administration. Or perhaps Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, in particular, was accused by House Republicans last month of an apparent political move for allegedly refusing to enforce federal immigration laws.

Maybe that’s what Illinois Governor JB Pritzker had in mind the other day when he said of the 77-year-old former president: “Donald Trump was stupid and ignorant long before he was old.”

Although President Biden, 81, was at the southern border last week to hear about the immigration crisis, he was not handing out voting cards and ballots. Or was it?

Even so, the millions of immigrants crossing our southern borders will not be able to vote starting November 5th. There is a process to becoming eligible to vote in US, state and local elections.

Current immigrants likely won’t be eligible as voters until another member of the Trump gang runs for office several years down the political path. Following Super Tuesday, the former president appears to be in the bag for the GOP nomination in the White House once again.

But refugees are too busy acclimating themselves to a new country, a new language, a new culture and a different lifestyle to think about voting. They are busy filling out benefit forms, finding housing, clothes and jobs.

Additionally, a green card immigrant must have been a continuous resident of the United States for at least five years to apply for naturalization. That shortens the requirement by about two years, unless the person is married to a U.S. citizen or serving in the armed forces.

They must also pay a $725 filing fee. If you don’t believe it, you can research it.

This is federal law and is something former President Trump should know as he has resided in the White House for four years. Or truths that his advisors must whisper in his ear when he decides to hit the campaign trail to boast that the Biden administration wants to “establish a new power base that gives them control for generations.”

Some of his supporters may believe this. Fox News’ talkers certainly believe this. Don’t let facts get in the way of a good stump speech, ratings or hysterics.

Interestingly, Biden supports a bipartisan agreement in the Senate that includes tough border actions, including deportations. The measure also included issuing work permits to immigrants, supporting the deployment of border patrols at crossing points and increasing the number of immigration judges.

Republicans in the House of Representatives abandoned the deal at Trump’s insistence, so he could use it as campaign support.

Another part of the journey for immigrants, regardless of where they come from, is that they can apply for naturalization after those five years of U.S. residency are up. Then they have to take the citizenship test. English.

Only then can they register to vote once they pass the test and become certified red-white-blue U.S. citizens. They also enjoy other freedoms that come with citizenship, such as serving on juries, running for office, and carrying a U.S. passport.

There are organizations across America that help immigrants become citizens. Many are located in Lake County, including HACES (Hispanic American Community Education and Services), based on Waukegan’s North Side.

In 2023, volunteers at the nonprofit helped nearly 150 Lake County residents become U.S. citizens. Also last year, HACES immigration caseworkers helped 214 people apply for asylum in this country.

HACES was among three Lake County agencies to receive state funding to assist immigrants currently living in the area. Illinois has spent more than $41 million so far to help refugees, much of it brought here by Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.

Immigrant bus trips to Illinois are down for now. As temperatures get warmer than our last 70-degree days, they’ll likely start again.

The former president will continue his unfounded fears about immigrants and voting conspiracies. Even though the message is stinky, for real Trumpers it’s red meat.

Charles Selle is a former News-Sun reporter, political editor and editor.


x @sellenews


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