Commentary: Non-Citizens Have Been Voting Since 2008

by David Catron


Why would a president running for reelection refuse to meet with the Speaker of the House to discuss a national crisis that most voters blame on the president himself? This would be regarded as bizarre behavior under any circumstances, but it’s particularly perverse considering that the crisis in question is illegal immigration — the signature issue of Biden’s probable challenger in November. Moreover, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average, 63 percent of the voters disapprove of the way he has handled immigration. Yet Biden refuses to discuss the problem. It’s almost as if he thinks it somehow works to his advantage.

What benefit would Biden gain by letting millions of illegal immigrants into the country? House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) provided the answer during a recent appearance on Fox Business Network’s Mornings with Maria Bartiromo: “I genuinely believe that originally the idea was to bring people in, open the border, have the flow come in and turn them into voters, there’s no other reason that seems to make sense.” This has been dismissed as a conspiracy theory by the White House and its allies in the media. Yet Biden has often made public statements that suggest Johnson is right. In 2016, when he was Vice President, he put it thus:

You know, 11 million people live in the shadows. I believe they’re already American citizens. Teddy Roosevelt said it better: “Americanism is not a question of birthplace or creed or a line of descent. It’s a question of principles, idealism, and character.” These people are just waiting for a chance to contribute fully. And by that standard, 11 million undocumented aliens are already Americans, in my view. All they want — they just want a decent life for their kids, a chance to contribute to a free society, a chance to put down roots and help build the next great American century.

Setting aside Biden’s implausibly low estimate of the “undocumented alien” population (researchers from Yale and MIT estimate the actual 2016 figure was more like 22.1 million), the key words that relate to voting are “contribute fully.” It will come as no surprise that serious research into how many of Biden’s “citizens” vote is very much discouraged in academia. In 2014, for example, a peer-reviewed article authored by Jesse T. Richman and Gushan A. Chattha, both of Old Dominion University, and David C. Earnest of George Mason University estimated that about 25 percent of non-citizens were registered to vote in 2008 and 2010. Moreover, they suggest that as many as 2.8 million of them actually voted.

Inevitably, the “vote fraud is rare” crowd descended on the authors of the study like so many flying monkeys. Their criticisms predictably focus on when and why they published their study rather than its findings. They suggest the study was purposely produced to provide fuel to “conspiracy theorists.” They also accuse the authors of timing it to affect the 2014 midterms. The article was published in the online version of Electoral Studies on September 21 — about five weeks before Election Day. It’s unlikely that this publication is included in the regular reading of your average voter. Richman and Earnest wrote a lengthy response to their critics in the Washington Post. Its general thrust is captured in the following passage:

Our blog post and article on non-citizen voting have reached a wide audience, and have motivated several efforts to dispute our methods and conclusions … Although our estimates of non-citizen registration and voting are higher than previous estimates, this should not be surprising. To our knowledge, ours is the first study to use survey data to estimate non-citizen voting, while other studies have relied upon incidents of detected vote fraud. Estimates of illegal behavior based upon survey data are frequently higher than estimates based upon detection rates.

This final point is driven home by the known level of detection rates for illegal voting. The Heritage Foundation maintains an Election Fraud Database that presents a sampling of recent instances of election fraud cases that have resulted in convictions. It does not purport to be exhaustive but it does contain the details of 1,276 criminal convictions many involving large scale ballot harvesting operations, vote buying schemes, and ineligible voting by non-citizens. However, because academic grant money for major research into any kind of election fraud is all but nonexistent, serious studies like the one discussed above are rarely conducted, leaving most American voters in the dark about how many illegal immigrants vote.

All of which brings us back to President Biden’s refusal to meet with House Speaker Mike Johnson about the border crisis. In May of 2023, the Republican House passed H.R. 2, the “Secure the Border Act,” which would codify the mechanisms used by former President Trump to successfully control the border. It has been collecting dust in the Democrat-controlled Senate for nine months. Meanwhile, the Senate has produced an alternative bill that would make the current border crisis permanent. This is the legislation Biden supports. Typically, the President would meet with the House Speaker and work out a compromise. The White House, however, says there is nothing to negotiate. It’s Biden’s way or the highway.

Or is it Biden’s way? During the Fox interview discussed above, House Speaker Mike Johnson said, “I don’t think he’s allowed to do it. I’m not sure Biden’s actually making these decisions.” This may be true, but it is by no means inconsistent with his past positions. Biden and the Democrats may well have reached the conclusion that they can’t stay in power with legal votes by natural born or naturalized citizens. If so, it means they see uncontrolled illegal immigration as a feature rather than a bug of the Biden administration’s border policy. In the end, they couldn’t care less who votes as long as they remain in power.

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David Catron is a recovering health care consultant and frequent contributor to The American Spectator. You can follow him on Twitter at @Catronicus.
Photo “Joe Biden in 2007” by SEIU CCNC2.0.



Appeared at and reprinted from The American Spectator

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