If you are not a United States citizen and you registered to vote, you could face criminal charges, denial of immigration benefits and even deportation from the country. These possibilities get even worse if you actually voted in an election.
There are federal and state laws that prohibit people who are not eligible to vote (usually non-citizen immigrants) from registering to vote and voting. It is a federal crime for a non-citizen immigrant to vote in a federal election. If you are not a citizen, you can be prosecuted, sent to prison and deported for voting in a federal election, even if you did not know you were not allowed to vote.
The very act of registering to vote requires that a person certify that they are a United States citizen and eligible to vote. Anyone who registers to vote and is not a citizen, has likely made what is known as a false claim to citizenship. A false claim to citizenship can stick with a non-citizen forever and stop someone from getting a green card, getting citizenship and can even lead to detention an deportation from the United States.
You may be thinking to yourself: everyone knows only citizens are eligible to vote, why would anyone who is not a citizen register? Or an even better question: why wouldn’t the person who is registering people to vote make sure the person registering is a U.S. citizen before letting them register?
The scary truth is that the people who are registering people to vote often times do not know the law, they do not know only citizens can vote, and they are not properly trained or informed of this fact. Sometimes they are told not to ask about citizenship at all and just get people registered. Even worse, many times lawful permanent residents, foreign students and others who are applying for a driver’s license are asked by the driver’s license officials if they want to register to vote. The DMV officials do not explain to them that they have to be a U.S. citizen. They do not explain to them that by registering to vote and signing for their driver’s license, they are claiming to be a U.S. citizen, an act that can haunt them forever.
If you are not a U.S. citizen and you are registered to vote or you have voted in an election, please, please go see an experienced and trusted immigration attorney as soon as possible. An attorney who knows this area of the law, like me https://www.slgattorneysflorida.com/john-gihon.html can help non-citizens do damage control in a situation that can potentially lead to the denial of immigration benefits and deportation.
If you are not a U.S. citizen and you have registered to vote or voted, all is not lost; you are not guaranteed a plane ticket back the country where you were born. Depending on the facts of your case and your immigration status, you may have defenses to the false claim to citizenship and unlawful voting.
For example, if you are a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) and you have been in the country for many years, and you registered to vote or voted, you may be able to keep your green card, avoid deportation and even successfully apply for citizenship.
If you are not a citizen and have registered to vote or voted and you have lived in the U.S. since you were a child, and your parents are citizens, you may not have violated the criminal or immigration laws on this subject.
If you are not a citizen and you voted in a federal election-one where you were voting on the President or Congress-then you have likely violated the federal law on unlawful voting, even if you did not know you were doing anything wrong.
If you are not a citizen and you voted in only a state or local election, and you did not know you were doing anything wrong, you may not have violated the criminal or immigration laws on the subject.
This area of criminal and immigration law is very confusing and can lead to very serious consequences, whether you knew you were doing anything wrong or not.
If you need an immigration attorney anywhere in the United States, but certainly if you live in Orlando or Jacksonville, please call Shorstein, Lasnetski & Gihon.
If you are not a citizen and you registered to vote or voted, call us today to set up an appointment to find out how to try and protect your immigration status.
Visit our website for more information about SLG: http://www.slgattorneys.com