The Washington Examiner recently reported that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is waffling on whether it will provide data to President Trump’s commission on voter fraud. Ostensibly, the agency is concerned about potential violations of privacy law. That is complete poppycock.
With very limited exceptions, U.S. citizenship is required to vote in an American election. It is a crime for non-citizens to vote in a federal election. And aliens who do so may be charged with a crime pursuant to 18 U.S. Code Section 1611. Similarly, an alien who makes a false claim to U.S. citizenship in order to vote may be prosecuted pursuant to 18 U.S. Code Section 1015(f).
Pursuant to the terms of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), any alien who has voted in violation of any federal, state or local constitutional provision, statute, ordinance, or regulation is both inadmissible and deportable.
In fact, the application for naturalization specifically asks if an applicant has ever registered to vote, or voted, in any federal, state, or local election in the United States. USCIS asks this question because (as clearly noted in the USCIS policy manual) an applicant who has violated U.S. voting laws may be ineligible for U.S. citizenship due to a lack of good moral character.
USCIS clearly has statutory authority to gather information on voting fraud by aliens and to investigate apparent instances of such deception. So why is the agency equivocating about furnishing data to the presidential commission on voter fraud? It doesn’t bother to gather and track this information. In short, USCIS simply chose to ignore the responsibilities Congress assigned to it with regard to suppressing illegal voting by aliens.
While this may seem shocking to the casual observer, it’s hardly surprising to those who monitor the agency’s performance. USCIS has demonstrated a pro-alien, “get-to-yes” culture since its formation in 2003. According to a 2012 report compiled by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General, senior officials at USCIS regularly pressured employees to rubber-stamp applications for immigration benefits, despite concerns about fraud or ineligibility. And in 2013, PJ Media described the USCIS Office of the Chief Counsel as “amnesty incorporated,” because it had hired so many attorneys associated with pro-amnesty activist groups like the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrant’s Rights Project and the National Immigrant Law Center.
USCIS’s intransigence illustrates how important the presidential commission on voter fraud is. American citizens should be confident that the votes they cast will exert genuine influence on the choice of candidates for political office and on issues submitted to referendum. But non-citizen voting is an ongoing problem in the United States. And each vote cast by a non-citizen diminishes the influence that the American polity wields in its own nation. That is an unacceptable situation.
The first thing President Trump should do in tackling this problem is to send USCIS a clear message that it is a federal law enforcement agency, not the alien welcome wagon – and its consistent falling down on the job will no longer be tolerated. The best way he can do that is to start filling key positions at USCIS with people who share his views and the views of the U.S. citizens who elected him.