Immigrants who hold green cards are not entitled to vote in U.S. elections. Nevertheless, many do, as reported in an article in the Washington Post. According to the article, based on data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study obtained from 55,400 observations in 2010, more than 14 percent of non-citizens claimed they were registered to vote, and an estimated 2.2 percent of non-citizens in the U.S. actually voted in the 2010 election.
Non-citizen voting can be a costly mistake for immigrants, who risk having their applications for citizenship denied, their green cards revoked, and deportation proceedings initiated if they vote in U.S. elections. Learn more about your rights.
When applicants obtain green cards in the U.S., this entitles them to apply for a driver’s license. In Texas, as in many states, when individuals apply for driver’s licenses, they are asked if they would like to register to vote. Many immigrants understandably assume at this point that they are entitled to vote because voter registration has been offered to them. They register to vote and, in some cases, actually vote in national and local elections.
When these individuals apply for citizenship at a later date, they are asked if they have ever registered to vote or voted in an election. Since only citizens are allowed to vote in the U.S., voting or even registering to vote may be grounds for denial of an application for citizenship and revocation of a green card. When a green card is revoked, the individual may be placed in deportation proceedings.
Completing a voter registration application can also be considered an act of fraud. In Texas, when you register to vote, the materials ask for verification that you are a citizen and entitled to vote. By completing the voter registration application, you are wrongfully claiming to be a U.S. citizen.
If you hold a green card in the U.S., it is important to know that you are not allowed to vote – or register to vote – until you become a U.S. citizen. If you have already registered to vote, not realizing the consequences, your best course of action is to consult with an experienced immigration attorney as soon as possible.
Voting or registering to vote while on green card status is a common and serious problem among green card holders in Texas. If you are a green card holder in the Dallas / Fort Worth area who has registered to vote or actually voted in an election, an experienced Dallas immigration lawyer can assist you and provide removal and deportation defense if necessary. An attorney can also provide you with advice about how to avoid putting your green card status or citizenship eligibility in jeopardy.