Alabama election official says Biden executive order gives illegal immigrants 'mechanism' to register to vote

Welfare agencies are required by federal policy to give illegal immigrants voter registration forms, Alabama secretary of state says

Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen is sounding the alarm about federal policies enacted by President Biden that he says provide illegal immigrants and non-citizens a "mechanism" to register to vote. 

In a recent interview with Fox News Digital, Allen pointed to Executive Order 14019, which was issued in 2021, arguing the Biden administration’s broad interpretation of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) of 1993 "weaponizes and mobilizes the entire federal government apparatus to become voter registration agencies." 

The secretary said his office first began looking into the matter after receiving a complaint from a concerned voter who received a voter registration form in the mail from an Alabama state agency addressed to a deceased relative who had passed away two years ago. Investigating further, Allen said his office discovered that state agencies, including Medicaid and other welfare offices that receive funding from the federal government, are required to provide voter registration forms to anyone who comes into contact with that agency under the NVRA. 

That includes illegal immigrants and non-citizens, Allen said, arguing how the 2021 executive order came without tools to verify the forms are sent to only U.S. citizens. 


Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen testifies before Senate

Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen testifies during a hearing before the Senate Rules and Administration Committee in Washington, D.C., on March 12. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

These individuals receive information on voter registration regardless of whether they are ultimately approved to receive the public benefits they applied for, he said. 

"And that's why it's so vitally important that the federal government, Congress, reform the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and then allow the states to conduct their own voter registration, take it out of the hands of the federal government," Allen said. "It's through state agencies that are federally funded and, of course, mandated by federal law, which is the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. And it doesn't matter how they come in contact through the mail or through in-person or through online, if they are applying for these public benefits, if they come in contact with that agency, they are receiving the voter registration form. And that's very, very troubling that non-citizens, whether legal or illegal immigrants, are receiving those voter registration forms."

"Only American citizens should be allowed to vote in our elections. And I strongly believe that the people of Alabama believe that only American citizens should be allowed to vote in our elections. And that's something that I'm not going to back away from," Allen said. "Something that we cannot back away from. And it's something that we must remain strong in and continue to advocate for these reforms. Again, for the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, sensible reforms. And, and that's why we've got to put President Trump back in the White House. That's why we've got to have strong GOP majorities in the United States Senate and strong GOP majorities in the United States House of Representatives to make sure that we can reform the NVRA to put some protections in there to verify citizenship. It is imperative, moving forward, that we do that." 

The White House billed Executive Order 14019 as a way to protect "the right to vote for all Americans who are legally entitled to participate in elections," including Black voters or other voters of color. 

At the time, the Biden administration assessed that the order came as part of the responsibility of the federal government "to expand access to, and education about, voter registration and election information, and to combat misinformation, in order to enable all eligible Americans to participate in our democracy." 

placeholderIn March, Allen testified before the Senate Rules and Administration Committee about the limited tools available to state election officials to guarantee that only U.S. citizens are registering to vote or voting in elections. 

At the hearing, he testified how his office in December had asked the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for a list of non-citizens to be able to cross‐check the voter file in Alabama. But the federal government denied that request and instead directed the Alabama secretary of state’s office to use the Systematic Alien Verification Entitlements (SAVE) program to verify citizenship. 

Biden DACA event

President Biden hosts an event marking the 12th anniversary of the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals program at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, the same day he issued a new sweeping immigration executive order. (Andrew Leyden/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Yet, SAVE explicitly states that it is not to be used to verify citizenship for the purposes of voter registration, Allen testified. 

"The federal government and the federal courts have blocked previous efforts by states to verify citizenship and I think that it is important now more than ever, especially given what is happening at our southern border," Allen told the committee. 


Speaking with Fox News Digital on Monday, Allen advocated for two pieces of legislation at the federal level. First, he supported the Citizen Ballot Protection Act, which was first introduced by Sen. Katie Britt, R-Ala., in December and sponsored in the House by Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Ala. The proposal would permit a state to include as part of the mail voter registration form a requirement that applicants provide proof of citizenship. 

Secondly, Allen also praised the Safeguard American Voter Eligibility (SAVE) Act, introduced just last month by Reps. Chip Roy, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah. That legislation would require states to obtain proof of citizenship — in person — when registering an individual to vote and require states to remove non-citizens from existing voter rolls. 

"It's a top priority of other secretaries of state of like mind, Republican secretaries of state, that we are watching this very, very closely and trying to bring to light what's going on and the need to reform the National Voter Registration Act of 1993," Allen told Fox News Digital. 

He said that not only other officials but the general public in his state cares about election integrity.

"No matter where I travel throughout the state of Alabama, Alabamians are concerned about the elections and the elections process, and they want fair, secure, transparent, accountable elections. And they want to make sure that when they go vote, that they can have confidence that their vote is being counted correctly and being counted accurately," he said.

On Tuesday, Allen also called out a new executive order (EO) issued by President Biden this week that is expected to shield as many as 500,000 illegal immigrants from deportation. It was widely criticized by Republicans, who argued the order serves as an election-year ploy by Biden to win over Hispanic and Latino voters by allowing illegal immigrants to remain in the country indefinitely under "parole in place" while receiving taxpayer-funded benefits. 

Allen and other election officials appear before Congress

Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen and other election officials from South Carolina, Nebraska and Michigan testify during a hearing before the Senate Rules and Administration Committee in Washington, D.C., on March 12. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

"Today, Biden issued an EO to offer mass amnesty to illegal immigrants currently residing in our country," Allen said in a statement. "Couple this with his previous voter registration EO and it is clear that Biden is attempting to win the upcoming election, not by winning over legitimate American voters, but by attempting to legitimize illegal immigrants. He won’t stop with this EO. He will keep attempting to dilute the power of the vote of legal Americans. Biden and his administration are radical and lawless."

Reached for comment about both executive orders, a White House spokesperson told Fox News Digital, "It is illegal for noncitizens to vote in federal elections. Receiving protection from deportation does not give an individual the right to vote."

Alabama state law ensures that paper ballots are used in every election and the tabulators used on Election Day cannot be connected to the internet. 

Allen also praised the state’s photo identification law, which requires anyone who shows up to vote to present a valid photo ID. 

"We feel those are good, strong statutes to make sure that our elections are strong, safe, secure, transparent and accountable in the state of Alabama," Allen told Fox News Digital. "And so I want the people of this state to understand that it's the top priority of our office, this administration, every day when we come into this state Capitol to make sure the elections are strong in our state. And then at the end of the night, you're going to know who wins and loses in Alabama." 

While it is illegal for non-citizens to vote in federal elections anywhere across the country, several local jurisdictions, including in California, Maryland, Vermont and New York, have enacted laws allowing non-citizens to vote in city or municipal elections in recent years. More than 500 non-citizens registered to vote in the Washington, D.C., council elections which took place earlier this month. 

Allen stressed that there is no such jurisdiction in the state of Alabama. On necessary reforms to the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, Allen said the law does not allow states to remove people who have moved out of state from the voter rolls in a timely manner. It currently takes four years to complete that process, while Allen argued it should instead take only two.  

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