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Don't Register to Vote!

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Don't register to vote. Hi, I'm Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer, practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. "Jim, are you crazy? Are you telling people not to register to vote?" No, I'm not crazy. One of our employees, the other day, pointed out that he received something in his Facebook feed that said, "Hey, it's time for you to vote." Now, this employee is only a lawful permanent resident. So it is not a good idea for this client or any client who is not a US citizen to register to vote. Now, we've seen a lot of problems along these lines.

So, of course, only US citizens can register to vote, and only US citizens can vote. And while we are glad that across the country it's getting easier and easier to register to vote, we just thought we'd make this video to explain and remind immigrants that until you are a US citizen, until you go through your naturalization ceremony, until you get your certificate of citizenship, you are not legally a US citizen. And you are not legal to apply to vote, and you certainly can't vote.

I would say every month or so, maybe every other month, we do a consult with someone who registered to vote or voted by mistake. Now, this is a deportable offense. This is the kind of thing that they could actually take away your green card and kick you out of the country. It is a federal crime to vote. I think it's a federal crime to register to vote if you're not a US citizen, but it's certainly going to hurt your chances at ever getting citizenship, and it's going to mess with your immigration status. So, only US citizens are allowed to register to vote. Only US citizens can vote. So if you are a lawful permanent resident or some other kind of visa holder, you should not register to vote no matter how easy it is.

If you do register to vote by mistake, hopefully, you can go back to the agency that signed you up and undo that. If you have to go to your Secretary of State or your local election office to undo that, you should do that, and you should keep proof. You should notify them that you registered in error. You can survive and get your citizenship, if you registered to vote by mistake and do the timely recanting. That is that you go back and undo it.

If you go ahead and vote, that's going to be a lot harder, and most immigration lawyers would probably tell you not to apply for citizenship if you have voted by mistake. I've certainly given that advice. So if you have questions about registering to vote or voting, give us a call at (314) 961-8200. You can email us at [email protected]. Be sure to join us on our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home. And if you like this video, we ask that you please share it out on social so that you can spread the word. And make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel so you get updates whenever we make videos just like this one. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

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