A group of illegal immigrants emerged from the shadows to openlytour the South, finally winding its way to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. The group, calling itself No Papers No Fear, has no doubt been emboldened by actions of the Obama administration.
For example, the Department of Justice has filed suit against any state that dares enforce federal immigration laws or enact voter ID laws, and the president recently signed an executive order granting special status to a class of illegal immigrants under the age of 31.
No Papers No Fear is comprised of almost 50 illegal immigrants who arrived in Charlotte to deliver its message. Before their arrival, the group’s representatives held rallies in 20 Southern cities condemning anti-Latino prejudice. In the words of Miguel Guerra, the subject of a pending deportation hearing, “We’re no longer afraid to say we are undocumented.”
As impassioned as Guerra’s group may be, the connection between illegal immigrants and anti-Latino prejudice is at best tenuous. One can be a Latino without being illegal, or an illegal without being a Latino. But there are larger problems at work here, included among them the possibility for voter fraud that illegal immigration creates.
I make no claim that the members of No Papers No Fear are breaking any laws other than remaining within our borders without permission. However, their mere presence opens the door wide open to voter fraud, especially in those states lacking adequate voter ID laws.
Many people believe 2012 promises to bring the most important election in years. And so a battle brews between charges of election fraud on one side and the pursuit of wider voter access on the other, and neither side is giving an inch.
In Florida, GOP Gov. Rick Scott tried for the better part of a year to gain access to lists of illegal immigrants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It took a federal court order to finally compel the federal agency to release the records so that those names can be purged from the voter rolls.
It’s not just illegal immigrants creating the problem. Last Friday, a group called the Voter Integrity Project submitted a list of 30,000 dead people who are registered to vote to the North Carolina State Board of Elections.
Can a few cases of voter fraud in a couple of select states really impact an election? Talk to anyone who remembers the 1960 presidential contest, and he’ll give you a resounding “yes.” John F. Kennedy took Texas by 46,000 votes and Illinois by 9,000, sealing his election. Had Lyndon B. Johnson, Kennedy’s running mate, not delivered Texas and Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley not revived the dead in Cook County, Ill., Richard M. Nixon would have been elected president eight years earlier than he was.
Although I may retain a tiny measure of sympathy for Guerra and his group of undocumented workers, they miss the point. No one questions the fact that prejudice is wrong — but breaking the law, which each member of Guerra’s group is doing, is also wrong. What’s more, the mere presence of illegal workers in the country during an election provides yet one more avenue for voter fraud.
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