The issue of non-citizens voting in Portland is not solely a Portland issue.

James Gooch claims that “(at) the city level … voting is not the grand expression of a national identity …” (“Non-citizen voting a local issue,” March 24).

Gooch is wrong. Voting at any level in this country is a magnificent expression of what it means to be a citizen of America.

Allowing non-citizens to vote in municipal elections is not a municipal issue but is an issue for everyone in America, for it threatens to establish a precedent. If non-citizens can vote in Portland, what about other communities? Why not an entire state? Why not in national elections?

Gooch writes that “there is nothing constitutionally sacred about the right to vote. It is a blessing of democracy, but it is also a tool.”

Gooch is wrong. Perhaps the most sacred constitutional right is the right of a citizen to vote. This right is the foundation of our democracy. Voting is a tool, but it is a tool for the citizens to express their opinions on the way their municipality, county, state and country are operated.

To give the voting tool to non-citizens opens up the ridiculous situation of political bodies being operated by people who do not belong legally to that political body.

The proposal for non-citizens voting makes no sense.

Let people become citizens before they participate in operating the body politic, which has allowed them safety, freedom and support which they were not receiving in their native land.