Donald Trump and Mike Johnson Announce Nationwide Proof of Citizenship Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a joint press conference at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Trump and House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) announced that Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are introducing new voter suppression legislation that would require all people who wish to vote submit proof of their citizenship. The bill, announced under the guise of “election integrity,” would target the non-phenomena of noncitizens voting in federal elections.

During the press conference, both Trump and Johnson falsely implied that many noncitizens are voting in federal elections — one of the reasons Trump previously claimed is why he lost the popular vote in the 2016 election. Johnson, speaking to members of the press, said that “if only 1 out of 100 [noncitizens] voted” that could lead to hundreds of thousands of noncitizens voting, which “could turn an election.” The bill, according to Johnson, also “requires states to remove noncitizens from their existing voter rolls.”

The problem with Trump and Johnson’s claims about election integrity is that noncitizens are already prohibited from voting in federal elections, making this bill another redundant attempt by Republicans to address a non-issue when it comes to voting. Under a 1996 law, it’s illegal for any noncitizen to “vote in any election held solely or in part for the purpose of electing a candidate for the office of President, Vice President, Presidential elector, Member of the Senate, Member of the House of Representatives, Delegate from the District of Columbia, or Resident Commissioner.”

This is not the first time Republicans have tried to ban noncitizens from voting in federal elections, despite the fact that they are already prohibited from doing so. Last year, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced the American Confidence in Elections (ACE) Act, a sweeping voter suppression bill that, among numerous other provisions, would prohibit noncitizens from voting in federal elections. 

The only instances in which noncitizens are allowed to vote are in some state and local elections in certain municipalities in states like California, Maryland and Vermont and in Washington, D.C.. New York City passed a law in early 2022 to allow noncitizens to vote in municipal elections, but Republican voters and officials sued to block the law from taking effect. A state trial court struck down the law shortly after, but an appeal is currently being considered by the state’s highest court.

The impetus for prohibiting noncitizens from voting is born out of right-wing conspiracy theories and baseless accusations of mass voter fraud. According to a 2017 study conducted by the Brennan Center for Justice, a review of votes in 42 jurisdictions in the 2016 election revealed that only 30 votes out of 23.5 million votes were suspected to be votes by noncitizens. 

“The absence of fraud reinforces a wide consensus among scholars, journalists and election administrators: voter fraud of any kind, including noncitizen voting, is rare,” the report concluded. 

Watch the press conference here.

Read more about Republican attempts to ban noncitizen voting here.