BIA HOLDS THAT A NONCITIZEN WHO VOTES IN AN ELECTION INVOLVING CANDIDATES FOR FEDERAL OFFICE IN VIOLATION OF 18 USC § 611(a) IS REMOVABLE PER INA § 237(a)(6)(A) AS AN ALIEN WHO VOTED IN VIOLATION OF LAW, EVEN IF THE VOTER DID NOT KNOW HE OR SHE WAS COMMITTING AN UNLAWFUL ACT BY VOTING.
On May 7, 2015, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), in dismissing the appeal of a removal order, found that the relevant Federal unlawful voting statute, 18 USC § 611(a), contains no specific intent requirement. The BIA thus held that such a general intent statute does not require proof a noncitizen voter knew it was unlawful to vote, only that he or she voted, “understanding what he was doing.” As a result, the BIA held that a noncitizen who votes in a Federal election violates the statute and becomes removable per INA § 237(a)(6)(A), regardless of whether the respondent knew that he or she was violating the law by doing so. Matter of Fitzgerald, 26 I & N Dec. 559 (BIA 2015).
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