By Hans von Spakovsky
As Matt Mayer vividly describes in a new Heritage Web Memo, the Obama administration is implementing a de facto amnesty that will allow the vast majority of illegal aliens to remain in the United States without being disturbed by the Department of Homeland Security or any attempts to deport them. We can now add one more general amnesty that the administration is apparently extending – no prosecution of illegal voting by noncitizens and a green light to becoming a citizen even if you have violated federal law.
FOX News is reporting that DHS was informed by the county elections administration in Putnam County, Tennessee, about an immigrant in the U.S. on a work visa who registered and voted in the 2004 election. This immigrant has now applied to become a citizen. The only interest that DHS seemed to have in this information from Putnam County was asking the immigrant to submit evidence that he has been removed from the voter rolls. The letter also asks the immigrant, in an amazing example of bureaucratic incompetence, to explain when he “discovered” that he was “not a United States Citizen.” This would be funny if it did not illustrate such a profound lack of common sense.
Let me try to provide some advice to DHS that they don’t seem to be getting from their in-house lawyers: registering and voting in elections when you are not a citizen is a felony under federal law. 18 U.S.C. § 1015(f) makes it illegal to claim you are a U.S. citizen in order to register to vote for any election, punishable by up to five years in prison; fraudulent registration and voting is also a felony under the National Voter Registration Act. 18 U.S.C. § 611 prohibits a noncitizen from voting in an election where there is a federal candidate on the ballot. False claims of citizenship in general are also felonies under federal law, 18 U.S.C. § 911, punishable by up to three years in prison. For more on this, see the Heritage paper The Threat of Non-Citizen Voting.
The FOX story cites immigration advocates claiming that illegal voting can be an honest mistake. The director of the Immigration Advocates Network says that “a lot of people are truly very unaware about not being eligible to vote.” Really?! The official federal voter registration form available, here, asks you at the top of the form in its very first question (even before you fill in your name): “Are you a citizen of the United States of America?” In the signature block on the form, it specifically asks you to “swear/affirm that: I am a United State citizen.”
It is pretty difficult to believe that a noncitizen would not realize that they can’t vote when they are asked to confirm they are citizens twice on the voter registration form used in every state. The question in the DHS letter asking the immigrant when they knew they were not a U.S. citizen is also completely ridiculous – anyone here illegally and even noncitizens here legally who went through the visa application process know they are not citizens.
But this administration seemingly has no interest in enforcing federal immigration laws and apparently no interest in prosecuting aliens who register and vote in violation of federal law, stealing and devaluing the votes of legitimate American voters. And committing such voter fraud will apparently not bar you from applying for and being granted citizenship by the Obama administration. As the County Election Administrator of Putnam County rightfully said, “this frightens me for my country. Why would you let someone who committed voter fraud become a citizen? That’s what they’re doing.”
I could not have said it better myself.