Under new New York City Mayor Eric Adams, non-citizens will be allowed to vote in municipal elections — no voting for president (yet). The New Republic thinks New York is blazing another trail and would like to destigmatize non-citizens voting. To that end, Maya Wiley traced the history of non-citizen voting in the United States and found that even the Confederacy embraced it. Time to put all those statues back up, then.

Wiley writes that “even the Confederacy, which at first feared alien suffrage would swell the ranks of abolitionist immigrants, succumbed to immigrant voting to attract workers after the Civil War.”

So what changed? Immigration skyrocketed in the late 1800s, from places like Central Europe and Asia—people not considered white and who experienced the discrimination that comes with the racist view of unfounded inferiority. Xenophobia at the end of World War I became the death knell for the last remaining alien suffrage laws.

That’s a shame.

There’s a long history of non-citizen voting in American and it’s a good thing to have put a stop to it.

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