Sun Mar 19, 2017, 02:59 PM
oflguy (4,047 posts)
I bet this happens alot
A Texas Woman ‘Voted Like a U.S. Citizen.’ Only She Wasn’t.
When Rosa Maria Ortega was a teenager, her mother was deported to her native Mexico after being arrested twice.
As she grew up, Ms. Ortega decided to take a different route. Lacking a high school diploma, she signed up for the Job Corps at age 18 and snagged a position at a state employment office.
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In 2012, she registered to vote, and not only cast ballots in the next two elections but served as a poll worker. Divorced, she raised four children, now teenagers, sometimes working three jobs.
“When my mom was here, she did everything illegal,” Ms. Ortega, 37, said in an interview. “I wasn’t going to let that happen to me.”
She may not have a choice. Ms. Ortega, of Grand Prairie, Tex., a suburb between Dallas and Fort Worth, is a permanent resident with a green card, but she is not an American citizen. In a case that made national headlines last month, she was found guilty, fined $5,000 and sentenced to eight years in prison because the ballots she cast in 2012 and 2014 were illegal. While green-card holders have many of the rights of citizens, they cannot vote.
If the verdict is upheld, she will serve her sentence and, in all likelihood, be deported to Mexico. For green-card holders, a criminal conviction is effectively a ticket for deportation.
Her punishment may be unprecedented for an offense that often draws a minimal sentence or probation. Ms. Ortega, who has a seventh-grade education and a sometimes shaky grasp on the complexities of her life, has steadfastly insisted that she did not know she was violating the law — that she is being imprisoned and probably deported for the crime of being confused.
“I thought I was doing something right,” Ms. Ortega said. “It wasn’t to hurt somebody, or the state, or the government. I even worked for the government.
“I voted like a U.S. citizen,” she said. “The only thing is, I didn’t know I couldn’t vote.”
The case resonates in a polarized political environment where some are convinced that immigrants threaten to upend the nation’s shared values more than they continue its long history of accepting and assimilating outsiders. Ms. Ortega’s lawyers say they believe the severity of the sentence stems from the furor over immigration and false claims about voter fraud raised by Donald J. Trump’s nationalistic presidential campaign.
One of Ms. Ortega’s lawyers, Domingo Garcia, said the case also raised questions about equality in the justice system. He cited a case three years ago in Fort Worth, in which a 16-year-old boy from a wealthy white family was sentenced to probation for a drunken-driving crash that killed four and seriously injured two. The boy’s lawyers argued that he was so spoiled that he did not realize that there were limits on his behavior, the now notorious “affluenza” defense.
Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican who brought the fraud charges, has applauded Ms. Ortega’s sentence, saying that it “shows how serious Texas is about keeping its elections secure.”
The outlines of Ms. Ortega’s offense are mostly undisputed. While living in neighboring Dallas County, she registered to vote before the 2012 election, checking a box on the registration form that certified that she was a United States citizen. After voting in 2012 and 2014, she moved to Fort Worth’s Tarrant County in 2015, where she registered to vote again — this time, ticking the box that indicated she was not a citizen.
When her registration was rejected, she called elections officials, telling them that she had voted in Dallas. Told that people who checked the noncitizen box were ineligible to vote, she reapplied, this time indicating that she was a citizen. An elections worker who remembered her earlier comment about voting in Dallas became suspicious, and forwarded the application to the authorities.
Ms. Ortega was jailed on charges of voting fraud, a felony, and false statements on a registration application, a misdemeanor. State prosecutors argued that her actions and statements showed that she had intended to break the law, although they offered no explanation of why she would have sought to vote illegally.
12 replies, 210 views
I bet this happens alot (Original post)
|Da Mannn||Mar 19||#11|
|Mouth of Chaos||Mar 19||#12|
Response to JaimeBondoJr (Reply #1)
Sun Mar 19, 2017, 03:10 PM
Fireant16 (1,226 posts)
3. She knew...I agree. I hope the U.S. just deports her and saves
the expense of incarceration with the stipulation that if she
reappears in the U.S. it's prison for life.
Response to Fireant16 (Reply #3)
Sun Mar 19, 2017, 03:25 PM
oflguy (4,047 posts)
6. This tells the story
"Told that people who checked the noncitizen box were ineligible to vote, she reapplied, this time indicating that she was a citizen."
So obviously all you have to do is check the box that you are a citizen and nobody verifies it. There is no telling how many illegals are voting.
Response to oflguy (Original post)
Sun Mar 19, 2017, 03:05 PM
Micrometer (259 posts)
2. Why did you omit this paragraph?
Response to oflguy (Original post)
Sun Mar 19, 2017, 04:30 PM
fools_gold (5,767 posts)
10. She worked in a State employment office
where she probably had to answer questions about residency and work permits, and even worked as a poll worker, and she expects me to believe that she was confused about non-citizens not being able to vote? Right.