Responding to President Donald Trump’s plan to resettle undocumented immigrants in sanctuary cities, Conservative Political Action Conference Chairman Matt Schlapp warned on April 15 that “these people are being released” into sanctuary cities and “could turn into voter fraud” in California, since the state issues driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants. “It’s a huge problem,” he lied.
Schlapp is using the president’s belligerent, racist gamble as a timely hook to resurface one of the oldest right-wing media conspiracy theories: the false claim that huge numbers of undocumented immigrants illegally vote in federal elections. There has never been any evidence for this claim, yet it has been pushed by conservative media and politicians for many years -- perhaps most notably during the 2016 election, when the current president claimed that if he was defeated, it would be due to millions of illegal votes for his opponent. Despite winning the election, Trump still falsely claimed that 3 million illegal votes were cast against him, and he created a commission to investigate it which ultimately discovered that voter fraud doesn’t exist -- yet the president still says it does.
To Schlapp’s point, California began issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants in 2015. Since the program started, over 900,000 licenses have been distributed. Though there has been a decrease in hit-and-run incidents, there is no widespread voter fraud in California.
Despite Schlapp’s continuation of this zombie lie, his baseless claim received no pushback from Fox’s Sandra Smith and Bill Hemmer, two anchors from Fox’s so-called “news” division. From the April 15 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom:
MATT SCHLAPP (ACU CHAIRMAN): And the fact is is that sanctuary cities are a magnet to illegal immigration and they are a problem. And if we’re going to add votes anywhere, I guess I don’t mind adding them to California. But that’s the secondary problem here, which is maybe we shouldn’t be giving people who are here illegally a driver’s license so it can potentially turn into voter fraud. It’s a huge problem.