Virginia Lt. Governor Ralph Northam endorsed giving driver’s licenses to illegal aliens on Thursday in the swing state that has been a hotbed of election integrity controversies.
Northam, considered the front-runner for the Democratic nomination to replace Gov. Terry McAuliffe, made his comments during an appearance at a rally in support of raising the minimum wage.
“[Democrats] want illegal aliens to vote because they know that they are going to vote for them, and it’s the only way they can win.”
“We need to make sure that we have immigration reform for this country,” Northam replied to a reporter who asked whether or not he supported giving illegal aliens driver’s licenses.
“We need to make sure that we have a pathway to citizenship in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and we need to make sure that people have access to driver’s licenses,” he continued.
Virginia’s announced Republican candidates for governor were quick to slam the proposal from Northam as politically motivated and “out of touch.”
“Virginia plain and simply should not give legal identification to illegal immigrants,” Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie told LifeZette in a statement.
“This far-left position by Lt. Gov. Northam is clearly the Perriello effect, and it is out of touch with the concerns of Virginians,” said Gillespie. Tom Perriello, a vocally progressive official at the Obama State Department and former congressman, is vying with Northam for the Democratic nomination for governor.
Gillespie’s own primary opponent, Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart, said Democrats like Northam want illegal immigrants added to the rolls because they know they’ll be Democratic voters.
“[Democrats] want illegal aliens to vote because they know that they are going to vote for them, and it’s the only way they can win,” Stewart, who is also running for the Republican nomination for governor, said.
“The Democrats particularly in Virginia are responsible for a lot of voter fraud and they want illegal aliens to vote,” Stewart asserted. “It’s the only way they could possibly win.”
Stewart believes that should Northam become governor, his plan to give licenses to illegal aliens could become a reality, despite the fact that Republicans have majorities in both chambers of the state’s legislature.
“On the General Assembly we’ve got a bunch of weak-kneed Republicans who give in to any pressure to provide illegal aliens, not only with the ability to vote, but with in-state tuition and other state benefits to the cost of all other Virginians,” Stewart said.
“I have no faith in the weak-chinned Establishment Republicans in the General Assembly to stand up to Northam … as [he tries] to push through the ability of illegal aliens to vote.”
Northam’s radical call for driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants is the latest in a succession of policy proposals and actions adopted by Old Dominion Democrats that critics worry undermine the integrity of the state’s elections.
In addition to driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants, both McAuliffe and Northam endorsed a proposal last week to repeal Virginia’s photo ID requirement at the polls.
Heavily Democratic Arlington County, part of the Washington, D.C. metro area, proposed giving driver’s licenses to illegal aliens in June of last year.
In April 2016 Gov. Terry McAuliffe drew fire from state lawmakers and election integrity watchdogs when he unilaterally restored the voting rights of over 200,000 felons in Virginia.
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The move was overturned by the Virginia Supreme Court in July.
The power to restore felons’ voting rights “could be exercised only in particular cases to named individuals for whom a specific grant of executive clemency is sought,” wrote Virginia Chief Justice Donald Lemons in the court’s decision.
Undeterred, McAuliffe began immediately issuing individual voting rights restorations. The Democratic governor’s administration claimed McAuliffe had personally reviewed and signed 13,000 of the clemency actions in August 2016. A subsequent investigative report from the Daily Caller News Foundation found the governor restored the voting rights of as many as 60,000 felons ahead of the 2016 election.
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With tens of thousands of felons restored to the voter rolls, a repeal of photo ID requirements at the polls combined with the issuance of driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants could further tip the state in favor of Democrats — the second two measures would surely encourage higher incidents of voter fraud in the often hotly contested swing state. McAuliffe himself only won election to the state’s highest office in 2013 by 55,220 votes over then-Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
Virginia would not be the first place in the U.S. to allow illegal aliens driver’s licenses. California, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Washington, D.C. all issue driver’s licenses to illegal aliens.