Rep. Richardson wants illegals to be given the right to vote in elections do you agree with this illagal voti?
"They live in the community and they should be allowed to have their say about things that affect them," said Fausto da Rocha of the Brazilian Immigrant Center in Allston. "They should be heard. Every resident in the community should be heard."
Pablo Maia, a Brazilian-born naturalized U.S. citizen, felt the same way. Maia, a Town Meeting member, said many illegal immigrants could do much more for the community if they'd be allowed to vote.
"There are Americans who don't care about politics and there are immigrants who are very concerned about the town's schools, the budget and the community in general," he said.
Generally, only U.S. citizens can vote in local elections, but there are a few places in the country where that right is also given to non-citizens. In Takoma Park, Md., for example, non-citizens have been allowed to cast their vote on local elections since 1992.
If that city is any indication, illegal immigrants may actually not vote.
A report by the Center for Immigration Studies, a group that favors limits on immigration, revealed that in a 2007 local election of the 455 non-citizens registered to vote, only 10 did.
Rep. Richardson said she stepped forward on immigration because of what she said was the lack of respect offered to illegal immigrants.
"Throughout history, there have been certain groups of people who are not treated with respect and dignity....I see that situation in the way undocumented individuals are treated. I'm uncomfortable with it. I am actively looking for ways to change that," she said.
Rushing's bill would require non-citizens who intended to vote in a community's election to declare that they live in that particular community and intend to become a U.S. citizen if they are eligible.
If Rushing's bill became law, voters would have to approve non-citizen voting in their hometown, according to a text of the measure.
The bill was supported by Richardson, along with state representatives Tom Sannicandro, D-Ashland; Ellen Story, D-Amherst; Thomas P. Conroy, D-Wayland; Alice Wolf, D-Cambridge; Kay Khan, D-Newton; Cory Atkins, D-Concord; and Denise Provost, D-Somerville.