Congress to Probe 'List of Potential Non Citizen Voters'

A congressional Committee is now investigating that apparent attempt by the Texas Secretary of State to purge the state's voter rolls, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

The House Oversight Committee says it will ask Texas Secretary of State David Whitley and other officials, potentially including Gov. Greg Abbott, to provide testimony on the incident, which raised questions of voter suppression.

In January, Whitley's office circulated what it said was a list of some 85,000 'potential non citizen voters' to elections officials statewide, indicating that local officials should examine all of the names on the list and purge those voters who may not be U.S. citizens. The list indicated that more than 50,000 of the individuals had voted in elections starting in 2008.

The list caused a firestorm of controversy, with President Trump among those claiming that it was 'proof of widespread voting by illegal immigrants.'

But other groups quickly pointed out that the list relied on people who had not been citizens when they applied for the identification they later used to follow the state's Voter ID laws, as far back as 1996, and didn't indicate whether the people had become naturalized U.S. citizens in the interim.

Since they had successfully obtained Texas driver's licenses they were not in the U.S. illegally, because illegal immigrants are not allowed to obtain TDL's. The vast majority of the people were here legally on student or work visas.

Luis Vera, lead attorney with the League of United Latin American Citizens, told News Radio 1200 WOAI that when the committee begins its work, it will find 'a lot of confusion.'

"They did something that was hastily done and nobody really understood what they were doing," he said. "That is what we have found throughout this process."

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio), who heads the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, believes it was more than a mistake. He says it was an attempt, following the strong Democrat showing in the 2018 elections, to purge legal Democrat voters from the voting rolls.

"Removing thousands of American voters from Texas voting rolls and thus stifling their ability to vote is suppression at the highest levels and should be investigated as such," he said.

Vera filed a lawsuit and any use of the list to investigate the legitimacy of the citizenship status of the people on it was halted by a federal judge.

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