Immigrants Who Vote in American Elections Face Deportation

Immigrants Who Vote in American Elections Face Deportation

white houseThe New York Times reported this past weekend about an immigrant from St. Kitts named Joseph E. Joseph who registered to vote back in 1992, voted in every presidential election since then and because of what he referred to as “doing his his civic duty”, he now faces deportation.

In the U.S., only citizens are authorized to vote in national, state, and local elections.  Although permanent residents (green card holders) are granted various priviliges as a result of their status such as the right to work and live permanently in the U.S., they can lose their green card status and face deportation to their country of origin if immigration officials discover that they voted in a federal, state, or local election or even if they registered to vote in one.

Unlawful voting is a violation of the immigration law pursuant to § 212(a)(10)(D) of the Immigration & Nationality Act (INA).

Mr. Joseph disclosed the fact that he voted on his application for citizenship that he submitted to the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS).

When dealing with an immigrant who disclosed on his or her application for citizenship that he or she voted in an election, USCIS officers evaluate the circumstances of the applicant’s violation, as well as the applicant’s good moral character, and determine whether the law has been intentionally violated.

The USCIS in Mr. Joseph’s case ruled that because he voted and made a false claim of U.S. citizenship, he didn’t establish good moral character which resulted in the denial of his application.  He is scheduled to appear before an immigration judge in early 2011 who will determine whether Mr. Joseph is deportable and if so, whether he is eligible for relief from deportation.

We at Pappas & Associates, P.A. understand that permanent residents who have lived in the U.S. for many years may feel that they are American and want to take part in the American way of life.  However, it is vital to understand that only U.S. citizens have the right to vote.  Therefore, we call on all eligible green card holders to come forward and apply for citizenship.  Once immigrants have taken the oath of citizenship and are deemed to be U.S. citizens, then and only then can they exercise their right to vote.




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