BOSTON (CBS) – Just as the national fight over immigrant rights reaches a boiling point, it comes to Boston’s City Hall.

“Immigration is an important issue right now,” said City Council President Andrea Campbell.

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She has what some call a radical idea. Allowing people who are not U.S. citizens to cast ballots in just local elections.

“Those who have green cards or are on the path to citizenship,” Campbell said.

She says non-citizen immigrants are already legally voting in Chicago school board elections, and in some Maryland counties.

“They attend our civic associations, they go to our schools, they work here, they run businesses, they pay taxes and so many other things,” Campbell said.

“I do feel the right to vote is a privilege reserved for U.S. citizens,” said Boston City Councilor Ed Flynn.

City Council President Andrea Campbell proposes allowing non-U.S. citizens to vote in local elections. (WBZ-TV)

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WBZ found echoes of councilor Ed Flynn’s opposition outside the statehouse.

“If you’re not a citizen, you shouldn’t have the right to vote,” said one man.

But inside, immigrant advocates rallied for protections.

“I think that everyone that lives in this commonwealth who is working, paying their taxes, has the right to vote,” said Margie Klein Ronkin, who gathered in support of Campbell’s idea.

Mayor Marty Walsh says he’s heard a lot of push-back.

“My mother came from Ireland in 1959. In 1995 she became a citizen. The reason she wanted to become a citizen is she wanted to vote,” Walsh said.

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There was no vote on the issue Tuesday, and a lot would have to happen for it to become reality – not only a vote from the city council, also the state legislature, and it would ultimately have to be signed by the governor to become law.

Christina Hager