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Expert: Executive Order Does Not Give Vote to Noncitizens

March 22, 2024 (1 min read)

Kelly Jones, Verify, Mar. 21, 2024

"Ahead of the 2024 presidential election, immigration and voting rights have been hot-button issues across the country. Recently, those topics were the subject of a letter that Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson sent to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. The letter expressed concern that a 2021 executive order signed by President Joe Biden “creates numerous opportunities” for ineligible voters, including felons in the prison system and illegal migrants, to register to vote. ... Biden’s executive order doesn’t create opportunities for ineligible people to register to vote. ... Any claims the executive order would allow ineligible voters, like noncitizens, to vote are false, Stephen W. Yale-Loehr, a professor of immigration law practice at Cornell Law School, told VERIFY.  “Nothing in the executive order allows noncitizens to vote … The executive order clearly states that the executive order only protects the right to vote ‘for all Americans who are legally entitled to participate in elections.’ Noncitizens, even green card holders, are not allowed to vote in national elections,” Yale-Loehr said.  Further, Yale-Loehr said no president can issue an executive order allowing noncitizens to vote. That is because Congress banned noncitizens from voting in federal elections through the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.  “Only Congress can change the law to allow noncitizens to vote in federal elections, and even that would probably require a constitutional amendment, as it did to allow women to vote,” Yale-Loehr said."