Alien Who Voted is Deportable, Whether She Intended to Violate Federal Law or Not

The federal Board of Immigration Appeals recently ruled that an alien who voted in an election was deportable.  Federal law prohibits non-citizens from voting in federal, state and local elections.  In fact, it is a crime to even register to vote in such elections if you are not a citizen.

Ms. Margarita del Pilar, a Peruvian national, obtained lawful permanent resident status in 2004 and obtained an Illinois driver’s license the next year.  In obtaining her driver’s license, she also registered to vote.  She later voted.  When she applied for citizenship in 2010, her application was denied and she was placed in deportation proceedings.

DHS alleged that Margarita was deportable for having violated federal law by voting.  The lady argued that she had no intent to violate the law and that she had simply been mistaken.  The BIA rejected the argument, finding flatly that the law prohibiting immigrants from voting before becoming citizens had no intent or knowledge requirement.  As such, the order removing the woman back to Peru was upheld.

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