WHEREAS: Cambridge prides itself on its multi-cultural immigrant communities, welcoming their various contributions to the city, whether through work, camaraderie, and/or community involvement; and
WHEREAS: According to the 2011 Cambridge Statistical Profile, over a quarter of Cambridge’s 103,609 residents are foreign-born with over 61% of that group lacking citizenship; and
WHEREAS: Residents of Cambridge, whether or not they are naturalized United States citizens, do pay state and local taxes, including property, sales, and school taxes, and enroll their children in our public schools, giving them a stake in decisions of the Cambridge City Council that affect them; and
WHEREAS: Without the ability to vote and gain representation through that power, non-citizens are at a disadvantage in ensuring that their views are adequately heard, understood, and represented in City Council discussions and policy decisions; and
WHEREAS: Even if a home rule petition allowing non-citizens to vote in municipal elections were to pass through the State Legislature, the ability to hold public office would still be reserved for U.S. citizens; therefore be it
ORDERED: That the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Art, and Celebrations Committee and the Civic Unity Committee hold a joint hearing to determine the feasibility of facilitating the appointment of an “Non-Citizen Representative” to City Council, who: 1) would be elected by Cambridge residents who are ineligible to vote in municipal elections solely on account of their citizenship; 2) would not have the power to vote in Council meetings; 3) would be able to speak on agenda items at Council meetings; 4) would be able to submit policy orders to City Council members for their consideration; and 5) would be allotted a publicly-accessible meeting space for non-citizen Cambridge residents to air grievances and discuss city issues at least once per month.